DID YOU KNOW?
People usually blame foodborne illness on the last meal they ate, but it typically takes up to 72 hours for symptoms to develop.
September is National Food Safety Education Month. Every year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from eating contaminated food.
Anyone can get sick from a foodborne illness (also called food poisoning), but some groups of people are more likely to get sick and to have a more serious illness. These groups are:
- Children younger than 5
- Adults aged 65 and older
- People with health problems or who take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness
- Pregnant women
In Arlington, the Environmental Health Program partners with food establishments to ensure that they prepare and serve food safely. Annually, staff conduct about 3,000 food establishment inspections. Since 2016, there have been no confirmed foodborne outbreaks associated with licensed establishments in the county.
While the Environmental Health Program helps keep you safe while dining out, there are also things you can do at home. As you prepare and handle food, follow these four steps:
- Clean: Wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces often when you cook.
- Separate: Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread germs. Separate them from cooked food and raw fruits and vegetables.
- Cook: Use a food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to an internal temperature that kills germs.
- Chill: Refrigerate perishable foods and leftovers within two hours. Chill within one hour if it’s above 90°F.
For more information visit www.foodsafety.gov.