September Is National Food Safety Education Month


dreamstime_s_51669988September is National Food Safety Education Month! Food safety is often overlooked for many reasons – it can be inconvenient, time consuming, or more likely, many people are simply uneducated as to how food should be prepared and stored.

This lack of education is actually quite common. Unless you took a home economics class in school or studied food safety, your knowledge of the topic probably only extends to what you observed growing up at home.

Food poisoning

Food safety is very important, and poorly stored or incorrectly prepared food can cause serious illness, including food poisoning. Symptoms of food poisoning include fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain/cramping, and vomiting. It is caused by consuming contaminated food, such as when food is expired but eaten anyway or if it is not cooked correctly. Food poisoning can be treated at home with rest, but it can escalate to the point where medical intervention is needed.

What can I do?

Fortunately, there are easy ways to ensure that the food you and your family consume is safe. Many food products come with detailed instructions on how to store and prepare each item, and it’s important to read these instructions before deciding to store food in the refrigerator, freezer or cabinet. These products will also come with expiration dates – remember, unlike dairy products which often become malodorous or change consistency when expired, not every food item will have obvious signs of age. Check the date of expiry, and do some research online if you are unable to find a date. utilizes a very specific FoodKeeper App which explains how to store a comprehensive list of food items, including baby food, condiments, deli products, baked goods, meat, frozen purchased food, pasta, seafood, poultry and more.

Who’s at risk?

Children and the elderly are most at risk for food-related illness, as are pregnant women, cancer patients, those with diabetes, HIV/AIDs, and autoimmune diseases.

Please keep in mind that food poisoning is not always something you’ll “get over” in a day or two – it can become severe and require hospitalization. Food should be stored, cleaned and prepared properly for each and every meal in order to ensure that your family stays happy and healthy.

A few additional food safety tips:

  • Food should defrost in the refrigerator, not on a counter where bacteria can grow at room temperature.
  • Fruits and vegetables should be cleaned with running water before consuming. Do not use soap since it can linger on food even after washing.

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