Date: September 15, 2021
Contact: Stefany Busch
970-697-4611 (Office)/ 760-464-5261 (Cell)
National Food Safety Education Month
Food is fuel, be confident about the food you eat
The holidays are fast approaching and fruit and veggie canning season is at its peak – that’s why September is National Food Safety Education Month, a great time to freshen up on foodborne illness prevention.
So far in 2021, a total of 58 foodborne illnesses have been reported to Mesa County Public Health (MCPH). In 2019, 71 cases of foodborne illness were reported. Since foodborne illnesses often go unreported, we can assume the actual number is higher. Nationally, these illnesses result in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths a year. In comparison, approximately 49 people die each year from lightning, according to the National Weather Service. Following simple food safety tips can help lower your chance of getting sick.
Take Steps to Prevent Foodborne Illness
- Clean: Wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces often when you cook.
- Separate: Raw meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, and eggs can spread germs. Separate them from cooked food and fresh produce.
- Cook: Use a food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to an internal temperature that kills germs.
- Chill: Refrigerate perishable foods (foods likely to spoil or go bad quickly) and leftovers within 2 hours, or within 1 hour if the food is exposed to temperatures above 90°F (like a hot car or summer picnic).
Anyone can get sick from food poisoning. But some groups of people are more likely to get sick and to have a more serious illness including :
- Adults aged 65 and older
- Children younger than 5
- People with weakened immune systems (for example, people with diabetes, liver or kidney disease, alcoholism, or HIV, or people who receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy)
- Pregnant people.
Salmonella is responsible for more foodborne illnesses in the United States than any other bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Though salmonella can be found in a variety of foods, chicken is a major source of these illnesses. Ground beef has also been linked to large salmonella outbreaks in recent years. Click here to learn how to prevent Salmonella.
Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves and causes difficulty breathing, muscle paralysis, and even death. These bacteria can produce the toxin in food, wounds, and the intestines of infants. Foodborne botulism typically occurs in improperly home-canned, preserved, or fermented foods. Improper food storage in those settings can provide the right conditions for botulinum toxins to develop. When people eat these foods, they can become seriously ill, or even die, if they don’t get proper medical treatment quickly. Click here to learn how to prevent foodborne botulism.
To learn how MCPH works to help keep the food you eat safe, click here.
If you believe you have a foodborne illness, seek medical care and inform the Mesa County communicable disease line by calling (970) 254-4120.