According to new reports from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in six Americans suffers from a food-borne illness annually.
By the CDC estimates: 48 million people in the U.S. become ill, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from food-borne diseases.
The study also concluded that salmonella was the leading cause of the hospitalizations and deaths while 90 percent of food-borne illness was caused by seven pathogens, including: salmonella, norovirus, campylobacter, toxoplasma, E.coli O157, listeria and Clostridium perfringens.
Here are 13 Ways to Protect Yourself:
1. Separate meats, especially poultry from produce while preparing foods.
2. Cook meat and poultry to the proper temperatures.
3. Promptly refrigerate leftovers; however, allow foods to cook before storing.
4. Store meat and poultry between 32 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit (0 to 2 degrees Celsius). Fish and shellfish 30 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 to 2 degrees Celsius) and eggs 38 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (3 to 4 degrees Celsius). Produce can handle slightly warmer temperatures between 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 to 7 degrees Celsius.
5. Purchase undamaged packaged products.
6. Pay attention to expiration dates.
7. Buy meat, poultry and fish products from reputable retail stores or suppliers.
8. Clean all counter tops regularly with a disinfectant like white vinegar or hot water with some orange or tea tree oil.
9. Change dishcloths frequently.
10. Wash produce thoroughly even if the label states it was “pre-washed.”
11. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap before and after handling any food items, and again after handling meat, poultry, or fish.
12. Smell fish before buying it. It should smell clean and briny. A strong odor indicates older fish.
13. Cook food, especially meat and poultry, thoroughly.
Michelle Schoffro Cook