Pregnant women, infants and young children are particularly vulnerable to foodborne illness since their immune systems are not as strong, so it is very important to practice food safety in your home! Here are some food safety guidelines and helpful tips to keep you and your family healthy.
Foodborne illness is usually the result of poor handling of foods, improper cooking or inadequate storage of foods. This allows for bacteria to grow and thrive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 48 million foodborne illness cases occur in the United States every year with some resulting in hospitalizations and even death. The good news is that a good amount of these instances could have been prevented by following some simple food safety practices.
One of the first and most important ways to prevent foodborne illness is to wash your hands. The best practice is to wash hands for at least 20 seconds, rinse and dry well. Have your children wash with you and teach them the importance of washing hands before meals, snacks and after handling foods. I like to sing the “ABC’s” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” song with my son. Both songs are just about 20 seconds long, so it’s a great way to teach your child with out having to count to 20. My son enjoys singing his song and I feel better know that he is learning to wash his hands the right way. Don’t forget to wash the top of your hands, finger nails and between fingers. These spaces are often overlooked and they can be a great hiding place for germs and bacteria.
Another area of concerns for foodborne illness is in the preparation, handling of foods and storage. Here are a few simple tips:
- Clean – Keep counter tops clean and wash after preparing foods. Keep uncooked meat and poultry away from ready to eat foods and fresh produce on the counter top, in the fridge and even in grocery bags. Always wash fresh produce before eating or preparing.
- Cook – Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees F. Always cook eggs, meat, poultry and seafood thoroughly to well done.
- Cool – Never leave food out for more than two hours. If it goes beyond this point simply throw the rest away. Never put hot foods in the fridge, which can warm other foods in the fridge and even lower the temperature in the fridge. Let the hot foods cool on the counter top first and then place in the fridge.
Storing baby foods.
Now that we went over a few of the basics, here are some tips for preparing and storing baby foods:
- Store open jars/pouches of baby foods in the refrigerator for no more than three days, after that throw it out.
- Don’t leave opened containers of baby foods out at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Don’t share spoons. There can be a lot of bacteria in our mouths and sharing spoons can allow bacteria to travel from one mouth to the next.
- Don’t double dip . When you are preparing a meal for your little one, take some of the baby food out of the jar and leave the rest behind. Double dipping can allow the germs and bacteria in your little ones mouth to be transferred into the jar of baby foods. Once there, the bacteria may grow and cause your little one to become sick. If you need more food you can always add more to the bowl.
Foods with a higher risk.
Lastly, try to avoid foods that tend to have a higher chance of being contaminated with bacteria. Here is a list of those items:
- Uncooked hot dogs and lunch meats
- Smoked fish/meats
- Unpasteurized juice, apple cider, milk or cheese (some soft cheeses are not pasteurized such as feta, brie, and camembert
- Alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean sprouts – these can be eaten when cooked thoroughly to reduce the risk of illness
- Raw milk or cheese
Keeping your family safe from foodborne illness is easy to do when you remember to practice food safety in your kitchen!
What are some things you do with your family to help practice food safety?***GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED*** Leave a comment below and you will be entered for a chance to WIN Food Storage Pods & Stackable Freezer Tray and MyDots™ Storage Labels! FIFTEEN winners will be randomly selected from all comments (U.S. residents only). Check back on Tuesday, October 30th when we will post the winners!
Here are the WINNERS: PJ Gaumond, Candice Duffey, Jill, Janai, Nancy Furman, Deanna Hill, Nanda, Misty Forrester, Rebecca Morgan, Amy Bomstad, Cecylia, Judith, Heather, Chriseni and Matinah Gilmore. If you are one of the winners, you will be contacted by e-mail. Thanks to everyone for commenting!
PJ Gaumond says:
October 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm
Keep food prep areas clean and sanitized.
Candice Duffey says:
October 20, 2012 at 3:54 am
Clean the surface of the kitchen every 3rd day, label all food in the refrigerator, open and use only what we will use and freeze the rest, wash our hands before and after every meal and of course pray :)
October 23, 2012 at 11:07 pm
I start emphasizing hand washing at early on w/ my kids & make it fun (letting them pick out soaps, towels, etc). My older 2 wash their hands w/o being told now & I’m sure it will be the same when my baby is older.
October 19, 2012 at 9:15 pm
We always wash our hands before and after eating. We never share spoons or cups!
nancy furman says:
October 19, 2012 at 8:33 pm
We always wash our hands and surfaces where we prepare our food!
Deanna Hill says:
October 19, 2012 at 11:12 pm
We use gloves when we handle meats. And wash our hands after everything!! And have hand Sanitizer in every room! And disinfectant everything after cooking!!
October 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm
Wash our hands before preparing food and keep cooking surfaces clean.
misty forrester says:
October 24, 2012 at 1:24 am
We constantly wash everything to help with keeping us healthy
Amy Bomstad says:
October 19, 2012 at 8:17 pm
Put food away in fridge right away, wash down surfaces all the time with a gentle cleanser, use natural cleaning products. Buy organic.
October 19, 2012 at 8:39 pm
I like to keep my fridge clean…I also keep stuff in it fresh and closed/wraped up…no sitting out open and drying…no contamination and bacteria’s growing..
October 22, 2012 at 3:36 am
I am always washing my hands and sanitizing my baby’s bottles. Whenever I purchase something from the grocery store, I was it before placing it into my fridge.
October 20, 2012 at 11:47 pm
Lots of handwashing and cleaning countertops and surfaces with vinegar. Keeping raw meats separate from other foods.
October 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm
Our family always washes our hands with warm water and soap. We clean up counter tops before and after food preparation. We teach our kids about the proper way to handle foods.
Matinah Gilmore says:
October 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm
We are serious about hand washing. My baby doesn’t eat solid foods yet so i’m always sterilizing the breast pump and bottles.