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Food Safety: The Answer To Preventing Food Borne Illness

Food borne illness is a serious matter. The Centers for Disease Control estimates there are 76 million cases of food borne illness in the United States each year, including 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths. Consuming contaminated food or beverages, which lead to infection or, less often, poisoning, causes food borne illness. As over 250 food borne diseases have been described, many possible symptoms exist, but common ones include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping.

Two common bacteria that cause food borne illness are E. coli and Salmonella. E. coli can be transmitted through improper food handling, which includes not washing hands, or not washing raw vegetables and fruits before eating or cutting them. Raw fruit and vegetables may become contaminated if manufacturers wash them in low quality water, or from manure fertilizers. Salmonella is found in raw or undercooked foods such as poultry, eggs, dairy products, fish and shellfish, and meats, but can also occur through cross-contamination of foods. Protect yourself by following these tips.

PROTECT YOURSELF
Cook

Separate

Chill

Clean

Report

COOK FOOD SAFELY

Food Cooking Temperature
Ground Beef At least 160F (71C); well done 170F (77C)
Roasts and Steaks 145F (63C)
Whole Poultry 165F (74C)
Chicken Breasts 165F (74C)
Fish 145F (63C)
Eggs 160F (71C)
Reheated leftovers 165F (74C)
Reheated sauces, soups, and gravies Bring to a boil.
Keeping foods warm after cooking Keep above 140F (60C)

- Buy a thermometer for your home -

HOW LONG WILL A FOOD ITEM LAST?

Food  In the refrigerator In the freezer
Meat: ground 1-2 days 3-4 months
Meat: steaks 3-5 days 4-12 months
Roasts 3-5 days 4-12 months
Pork: chops 3-5 days 4-6 months
Bacon 7 days 1-2 months
Smoked breakfast link or patty  7 days 1-2 months
Lunchmeat (open/unopened) 3-5 days/2 weeks 1-2 months for either
Fish and seafood 1-2 days Up to 6 months
Chicken or turkey (whole/parts) 1-2 days for either 1 year for whole 9 months for parts
Cheese 3-4 weeks 4-6 months
Yogurt  Check date on the container; do not buy expired yogurt NA
Eggs (fresh in shell/hard-boiled) 3-5 weeks/1 week Do not freeze/does not freeze well
Eggs: liquid substitute (open/unopened)  3 days/10 days Do not freeze/1 year
Television dinner Keep frozen until ready to eat 3-4 months
Cooked egg dishes 3-4 days NA

- If you are not sure about a food's safety, toss it out -

STORE FOOD SAFELY
In the Cupboard

In the Fridge

In the Freezer

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CHECK OUT THE FOLLOWING WEB SITES AND HOTLINES
USDA Food Safety Web site, search for food safety, food borne illness
US Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Web site, search for food safety, food borne illness, or contact the FDA's Food Safety Information Hotline at: 1-888-723-3366
USDA's Foodborne Illness Education Information Center Web site, search for food safety, food borne illness
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Web site, search for food safety, food borne illness, or contact the USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline at: 1-888-674-6854
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, search for food safety, food borne illness

References
The American Dietetic Association's Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, by Roberta Larson Duyff, MS, RD, CFCS; 1998.
Fight BAC! Graphics, Partnership for Food Safety Education Web site
Thermy graphics, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA Web site
Help with Cooking Web site


If you are a registered University of Illinois student and you have questions or concerns,
or need to make an appointment, please call: Dial-A-Nurse at 333-2700

 

If you are concerned about any difference in your treatment plan and the information in this handout,

you are advised to contact your health care provider.

 

Visit the McKinley Health Center Web site at: http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu


HEd. III-122

The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, 2007.

07-11-07

food_borne_illness

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