food safety

September is Food Safety Education Month

Dan Agri-Business, This Land of Ours, USDA-FDA

There’s no better time to learn about food safety than during National Food Safety Education Month. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

food safety

This month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emphasizes the importance of food safety, particularly for groups at high-risk of getting sick due to foodborne illness (also known as food poisoning).  Every year, 1 in every 6 Americans gets sick due to a foodborne illness or “food poisoning.” Food illnesses result in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths yearly. While anyone can develop a foodborne illness, some groups of people are at greater risk. These groups include:

  • Children younger than 5 years
  • Older adults (especially people 65 years and older)
  • Pregnant people and their unborn children
  • People with cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, organ transplants, and autoimmune diseases

These groups of people are not only at an increased risk of contracting a foodborne illness, but also more likely to be ill for longer, require hospitalization, or even die.

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If you or your loved ones are at a high-risk, reduce the risk by knowing which foods are associated with higher risk for foodborne illness:

  • Raw or undercooked meat or poultry
  • Hot dogs, luncheon meats (cold cuts) and other deli-style meats, poultry products, and smoked fish (unless they’re reheated until steaming hot)
  • Unwashed fresh vegetables, including lettuce/salads
  • Unpasteurized (raw) milk and products made with raw milk, like yogurt and cheese
  • Raw fish, partially cooked seafood (like shrimp and crab), and refrigerated smoked seafood
  • Raw shellfish (like oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops) and their juices
  • Raw or undercooked eggs or foods containing raw or undercooked eggs (like cookie dough and cake batter), as well as certain homemade salad dressings (like Caesar salad dressing)

If you happen to consume contaminated food, symptoms of foodborne illness usually appear 12 to 72 hours later, but they may occur between 30 minutes and 4 weeks later. Symptoms can include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (may be bloody), and abdominal pain
  • Fever, headache, and body ache

The FDA says you should contact your physician or health care provider as soon as possible if you suspect you may have a foodborne illness.

Listen to Sabrina Halvorson’s This Land Of Ours program here.

September is Food Safety Education Month

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.