Celebrate September as National Food Safety Education Month&#8480 (NFSEM)

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Celebrate September as National Food Safety Education Month&#8480 (NFSEM) and this year's theme, "Food Safety Thrives When You Focus on Five!" As the international trade association for the manufacturers of mayonnaise, salad dressings, mustards and condiment sauces and the suppliers to the industry, the Association for Dressings & Sauces (ADS) is pleased to provide you with important information addressing the safety of commercial dressing and sauce products.

Celebrate September as National Food Safety Education Month&#8480 (NFSEM) and this year's theme, "Food Safety Thrives When You Focus on Five!" As the international trade association for the manufacturers of mayonnaise, salad dressings, mustards and condiment sauces and the suppliers to the industry, the Association for Dressings & Sauces (ADS) is pleased to provide the public with important information addressing the safety of commercial dressing and sauce products.

For more than 60 years, members of the scientific and regulatory communities have conducted research and published articles that document the safety of commercially prepared dressings and sauces, including mayonnaise. As a matter of fact, the ADS "Food Safety Facts: Commercial Dressings & Sauces" details the long-standing safety record of these commercial products.

Many years ago, it was not unusual for dressings, mayonnaise in particular, to be prepared from scratch. When making mayonnaise, home cooks used unpasteurized eggs, which scientists now know can sometimes be contaminated with Salmonella. This practice gave birth to the "mayo myth." As such, mayonnaise is often incorrectly cited as the culprit when foodborne illness occurs. Commercially prepared mayonnaise is safe and prepared under strict quality control procedures, in compliance with the Food and Drug Administration's good manufacturing practices.

Unlike its homemade counterpart, commercial mayonnaise contains pasteurized eggs that are free of Salmonella and other dangerous bacteria. Additional ingredients such as vinegar and lemon juice create a high-acid environment that slows, and even stops, bacterial growth. Salt is also an important ingredient in commercial mayonnaise that contributes to the unfavorable environment for bacteria.

In addition to the Food Safety Facts kit, ADS' consumer brochure, "Make Mine Mayonnaise!" contains answers to frequently asked questions about commercial mayonnaise and is part of a diligent effort to educate consumers and spread the good news about mayonnaise safety, debunking the "mayo myth." A copy of this brochure can be accessed via theWeb site, http://www.dressings-sauces.org, under "Food Safety."

Of course, as with all foods, the inadvertent introduction of pathogens must be avoided, particularly post-manufacture. It is imperative that consumers, as well as foodservice distributors and operators, adhere to sanitary food handling practices in dealing with all foods, including dressing and sauce products, to ensure safety. These recommendations are consistent with two of the five principles highlighted in this year's NFSEM program: "Prevent Cross-Contamination" and "Clean and Sanitize Correctly." With your assistance, ADS hopes to continue to educate food handlers and the public about the safety of commercial dressing and sauce products, including mayonnaise, and the importance of avoiding cross-contamination.

For questions regarding dressing and sauce products now or in the future, please feel free to use ADS as a resource. More information on the safety of commercially prepared dressings and sauces is available the Web at http://www.dressings-sauces.org.

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