September is National Food Safety Education Month

Foodborne illness can often be prevented by being conscious of how you are handling food when harvesting, purchasing, preparing and eating it.

This September marks the twentieth annual observance of National Food Safety Month. This observance is intended to focus on safety precautions within the food industry and within American homes.

Michigan State University Extension has seven practical reasons why you should handle food safely.

  1. Handling food safely helps to keep food’s quality at its best. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Doing this prevents the growth of microorganisms that can spoil your food or make you sick. Storing food at the correct temperature also retains the fresh appearance, pleasant aroma and agreeable texture. Food stored in the refrigerator should be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or a little below so that means your refrigerator should be this temperature. Keeping an appliance thermometer in your refrigerator is the best way to monitor the temperature.
  2. Safe food handling allows you to enjoy the most nutritional value. If you’ve taken the time to carefully select a variety of healthy foods, use them up or preserve them by freezing, canning or drying.
  3. You set a good example when you handle food safely. A pinch of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.
  4. When family and friends know you take food safety seriously they aren’t afraid to eat the food that you prepare or preserve for them.
  5. Handling food safely saves money. First when you throw away food you are throwing away money and second foodborne illness costs billions each year in health care costs and lost wages.
  6. You spare yourself, your family and friends a nasty bout of foodborne illness when you take care of your food. Foodborne illness can be deadly. High risk groups, infants and preschool children, adults age 65 and older, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are most susceptible to life threatening results when eating contaminated food.
  7. Safe food handling is a social responsibility. You are an important link in the farm-to-table chain. People that you prepare food for deserve the best and you expect no less from those who produce and prepare food for you. You are no less important than the manufacturer, government regulator, or grocer in assuring food safety. You are an important link in the farm-to-table chain.

Focus on food safety in your home to prevent foodborne illness, get the most nutritional value out of the food you grow or purchase and save money. 

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