Food Safety Thrives When Consumers Focus on Five - Focusing on Five Easy Steps Helps Consumers Reduce Their Risk of Foodborne Illness

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September marks the start of Food Safety Education month, a time for consumers to incorporate safe food handling practices that can reduce their risk of foodborne illness into their daily routine. According to the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2009 Food & Health Survey, 52 percent of consumers perceive foodborne illness as the most important food safety issue, but the survey also found that people have room for improvement when it comes to following proper food safety practices at home.

The Food & Health survey data shows that consumers agree that food safety is a shared responsibility

September marks the start of Food Safety Education month, a time for consumers to incorporate safe food handling practices that can reduce their risk of foodborne illness into their daily routine. According to the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2009 Food & Health Survey, 52 percent of consumers perceive foodborne illness as the most important food safety issue, but the survey also found that people have room for improvement when it comes to following proper food safety practices at home.

Today, in a special Food Safety Education Month kick-off Web cast, experts highlighted the risks of not practicing proper food safety precautions at home.

“It’s important for people to know that they have some control in keeping their food safe,” said Robert Gravani, Professor of Food Science at Cornell University. “It’s remarkable how easy it is to incorporate simple food safety steps into your every day routine.”

5 Food Safety Steps to Keep Consumers Safe:

  • Purchasing: Make sure meat, poultry and seafood products -- whether raw, pre-packaged, or from the deli -- are refrigerated when purchased.
  • Cooking: Always cook to “Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures” and use a meat thermometer to check the doneness of your food.
  • Holding: Hold hot foods above 140 °F and cold foods below 40 °F.
  • Separating: Use one cutting board for fresh produce — and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Cleaning: Always wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before beginning food preparation; after handling food, and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or touching pets.

It’s important that proper food safety practices are followed throughout the food supply chain, from food manufacturers to government, farmers, retailers, government and consumers.

“The Food & Health survey data shows that consumers agree that food safety is a shared responsibility” said Tony Flood, Director of Food Safety Communications at the Foundation, “They’re looking to manufacturers and government first, but they also understand that they have a role to play too.”

The Foundation also has additional materials available on a wide range of food safety and defense issues available at http://www.ific.org/publications/other/foodsafetyresources.cfm.

For additional information on food safety, a copy of the 2009 Food & Health Survey or to schedule an interview with an expert please call the Foundation Media Team at 202-296-6540.

The International Food Information Council Foundation will effectively communicate science-based information on health, nutrition, and food safety for the public good. The IFIC Foundation is supported primarily by the broad-based food, beverage and agricultural industries. IFIC Foundation materials are available at http://ific.org/newsroom. For interviews with scientific experts or for more information, call (202) 296-6540.

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Eric Mittenthal

Jania Matthews
International Food Information Council
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