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Keep your food safe in September

Dangerous foodWhen: September

What: Food sustains us, nourishes us and connects us to our wider society and culture. Food shows up at both parties and funerals, and it comforts people in times of need. And yet, food can be harmful, especially if it’s not prepared properly. In September, help make sure food stays nourishing, not sickening, by recognizing Food Safety Education Month.

Background: Food Safety Education Month is a national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of food safety. Adhering to proper food safety techniques is an important aspect in maintaining health, especially for children and pregnant women, who are at a greater risk of foodborne illness.  Food safety practices to remember include making sure that all meat is cooked to a safe temperature, avoiding cross-contamination during food preparation, and checking for allergen risks before preparing food for a group of people.

Story Pitch: A number of groups and organizations can pitch around Food Safety Education Month.  Restaurant supply stores will want to note the importance of cooking foods to the proper temperature and using a thermometer for accuracy. Culinary schools can encourage students to pass along information regarding food safety and the consequences of improperly storing and preparing foods. Both grocery stores and restaurants can promote the cleanliness of their food and the ways in which they keep their food fresh, while retailers that sell food preparation tools can advertise the different ways in which they can aid in food safety techniques.

Story Hook: Each year, food poisoning causes an estimated 48 million illnesses and 3,000 deaths each year in the U.S. alone. Consider the following when you make your pitch:

  • At what internal temperature should meats be cooked? Chicken? Pork? Beef?
  • What are the proper precautions to take when preparing food for a group?
  • What is the proper way to defrost meat?
  • How does cross-contamination happen, and what are some tips to prevent it?

Tips: A restaurant chef can demonstrate and provide insight into proper food safety and cooking techniques, and a home cook can talk about how to properly defrost and handle meats. In addition, a food safety inspector can provide their criteria for clean cooking spaces and safe food.

Resources:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
(800) 877-0877
media(at)eatright.org
www.eatright.org

Food Safety Working Group
www.foodsafetyworkinggroup.gov

National Restaurant Association Education Foundation
www.foodsafetymonth.com

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(888) 463-6332
www.fda.gov

 –Researched, compiled & written by Kimberly Cooper
Event Dates  from CHASE’S Calendar of Events

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