Practice Food Safety Tips

Foodborne illness is commonly known as food poisoning. Each year, millions of foodborne illnesses can be attributed to contaminated foods. Symptoms of food poisoning include upset stomach, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dehydration with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. So what are ways you and your family can lower your risk of foodborne illness? Proper handling, preparing and storing of foods can prevent most cases of food poisoning. Here are four simple steps to help you do that: Step #1 is Clean. Hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap. Be sure to scrub hands, wrists, fingernails and in between fingers. Rinse and dry with a clean cloth towel or paper towel. ALWAYS wash hands before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling pets. Step #2 is Separate. Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from ready to eat foods. Incorrectly handling these foods can cause the spread of bacteria from foods, hands, utensils, or food preparation surfaces to another food. Step #3 is Cook. Heating foods to the right temperature for the proper amount of time kills the harmful bacteria. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the cooked foods. Remember the Two–Hour Rule: Throw away any foods that can spoil or become contaminated with bacteria if unrefrigerated and left out at room temperature for more than two hours. If temperatures are above 90° F, throw away food after one hour. Step #4 is Chill. At room temperature, harmful bacteria can grow very fast in food. Cold temperatures keep most harmful bacteria from multiplying. That is why it is important that your refrigerator is working properly. It is okay to place hot foods in the refrigerator – you do not need to let them cool. For more information on food safety visit this websites, www.FoodSafety.gov, Food Contamination and Poisoning www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/foodborneillness.html
Foodborne Illness www.cdc.gov Arkansas Department of Health Food Protection Services www.healthy.arkansas.gov
If you think you have food poisoning, call your doctor, if it is an emergency call 911 or contact your county’s local health unit. Contact information for all of Arkansas Department of Health’s local health units can be found at this link: www.healthy.arkansas.gov or by calling 1-501-661-2000 or 1-800-462-0599.

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