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Be aware of safe practices when it comes to foods


In recognition of World Food Safety Day June 7, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), is reminding consumers to be proactive and practice safe food handling to prevent foodborne illnesses.

World Food Safety Day was created to draw attention and inspire action to prevent, detect and manage foodborne hazards, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, tourism and sustainable development. Each year, an estimated 600 million people – nearly one in 10 worldwide – become ill after eating contaminated food, resulting in 420,000 deaths.

While there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through food or food packaging, there are numerous other reasons to remember the importance of safe food-handling,” said Steve Ingham, administrator for the DATCP Division of Food and Recreational Safety. “Unsafe food can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, causing more than 200 diseases with symptoms ranging from diarrhea to neurological disorders.”

Ingham says as businesses begin reopening, people should also be grateful for the many state, local and federal food safety professionals who work with business operators to ensure that food supply is safe.

To protect consumer health and ensure food safety, the DATCP encourages everyone to follow the World Health Organization’s (WHO) five keys to safer food:

• Wash hands before, during and after handling food. Clean and sanitize all surfaces, and equipment used for food preparation.

• Store food in containers to avoid contact between raw and cooked foods. Use separate equipment for raw meat, poultry and seafood.

• Bring foods like soups and stews to boiling temperature. For meat and poultry, use a thermometer to ensure proper internal temperatures.

• Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than two hours, and do not thaw frozen food at room temperature.

• Wash all fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw. Do not consume food that has not been stored at proper temperatures.

Learn more about World Food Safety Day and what consumers can do to avoid foodborne illnesses at campaigns/world-food-safety-day/2020.