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U.S. National Food Safety Month

By Tim Sandle     Sep 22, 2014 in Health
Atlanta - September is National Food Safety Education month in the U.S. The CDC has issued some new guidance to help producers and consumers to avoid food poisoning.
To assist consumers, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued some new material related to foodborne illness and food safety. The main September feature is about how food outlets handle and process chicken.
Chicken, when handled badly, is a major cause of bacterial triggered illness. Most of these illnesses arise from the bacteria Salmonella and Campylobacter. One CDC study found that in 2011, four-fifths of raw chicken breasts tested in California were infected with Campylobacter.
Illness linked to chicken often comes from cross contamination. This occurs when raw, contaminated chicken touches other foods or kitchen equipment. Illness can also come from cooked chicken not reaching a high enough temperature (this is recommended to be above 165°F) to kill any bacteria that might reside inside it.
In applying the research to food outlets, the CDC researchers came across some alarming statistics when restaurant managers were surveyed:
About 1 in 3 managers said they wipe equipment with sanitizer but do not wash or rinse it first.
One in four managers said that their workers do not always use gloves while working with raw chicken.
Four in ten managers said that they do not always have cutting boards assigned for use only with raw meat.
Many restaurants did not take steps to stop cross contamination when preparing chicken.
In many restaurants, managers did not know the right cooking temperature for chicken.
Food workers in many restaurants did not use thermometers to check the temperature of cooked chicken.
There are also resources for food producers. This includes a new portal called the “e-Learning on Environmental Assessment of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks”. This is a free-to-use, new interactive course on dealing with a foodborne illness outbreak and for making an environmental assessment. Another new innovation is a video featuring CDC workers Martin Kalis and Rob Blake. This covers how the food industry can best prepare for the next natural disaster before it strikes. The feature is called “Lessons Learned: Food Safety Preparedness before the Next Natural Disaster.”
The CDC hopes that these resources will help to promote food safety more strongly.
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