September is Food Safety Education Month! According to the FDA, the importance of food safety is learning and educating others on taking an active role in preventing foodborne illnesses. 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. Below are some tips, provided by the CDC, that you can take advantage of at home to keep you and your family safe from these illnesses.
• Clean: Wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces. This step is important to do before, during, and after cooking to help prevent cross-contamination of harmful bacteria.
• Separate: Make sure to separate your raw meats from your produce to prevent cross-contamination as well. Raw meats normally carry many different pathogens such as salmonella, E.coli, listeria monocytogenes, etc. Like you and I, many animals naturally carry bacteria in their bodies when alive, so after an animal is slaughtered, the bacteria within their intestines can easily be converted onto the meat itself.
• Cook: Use a food thermometer to ensure the food you are preparing is being cooked to the correct temperature, this is to ensure that all germs are being killed before consumption.
• Chill: Bacteria can multiply quickly within perishable foods if they are being stored in room temperature, so it is important to refrigerate perishable foods within two hours after use.
Another tidbit that I wanted to touch on that I think is relevant for many families, is how to keep your bagged lunches safe from these illnesses as well. I know from personal experience, during my morning commute to work, it can be hard to keep my bagged lunch, cold. A helpful tip to get around this dilemma is to include at least two cold sources to keep the food chilled while it is not being refrigerated. Whether it's an ice pack, or a frozen water bottle, place one source on top of the food, and one on the bottom to ensure your food is the same temperature throughout. Once at work, place your food in the refrigerator/freezer. If food is in an insulated lunchbox, unzip the top and leave the lid open. This will chill your food faster versus the lunchbox being closed.
At Nelson-Jameson, we take food safety very seriously, and value our role in the food supply chain—providing food processing facilities with the products and services they need to produce safe, quality food. For more information on Nelson-Jameson's role in the food supply chain, click here.
Fong, Fiona. “Bacteria in Raw Meat vs. Cooked Meat.” Bacteria in Raw Meat vs Cooked Meat, 1 Sept. 2017,
“Food Safety Education Month.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Aug. 2020, www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/education-month.html.
Keeping "Bag" Lunches Safe, United States Department of Agriculture, 16 Aug. 2016, www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/keeping-bag-lunches-safe/ct_index/!ut/p/a1/jVHRTsIwFP2aPXYtDAn4tiwxgDIkRCl7Id121zaMdmk7UL_eMnxQA0rvS3vuOTm95-IMU5wpdpCcOakVq0_vbLglSzLsjRMyW4x7D2Savi4Xj0lCRqs7T9j8QUijG_VXTkz-089uMOibeTLnOGuYE0iqSmPKwSGm7BGMxbTSukSWVeDeUcUKh6w