With children going back to school and September being National Food Safety Education Month, now is a great time to learn more about food safety and preventing foodborne illness. One way to stay food safe and to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses (and any illness for that matter) is to make proper hand washing routine at home and at school.
Everyone is at risk for foodborne illnesses, but young children are at greater risk for experiencing a more serious illness because their immune systems are not as developed as an adult’s. That’s one reason Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has issued a proclamation naming the month of September National Food Safety Education Month. This month was created to enhance awareness of the importance of properly handling, cooking and storing your food to avoid foodborne illness.
Cleanliness is a major factor in preventing foodborne illness and is a critical step to avoid getting sick. It is also especially important for parents who prepare meals, and children who enjoy eating the meals, to be aware of the importance of hand washing. FSIS recommends people not only wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, but also:
Parents can make handwashing fun for their children by singing the “Happy Birthday” song or the ABC’s, twice, as they wash their hands along with their child. Be sure that everyone follows these steps:
Although washing hands is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them, if soap and water are not available, you can use disposable wipes.
When parents teach children healthy habits like handwashing, they can be a part of USDA’s efforts to prevent the spread of bacteria and keep their children healthy.
Consumers can learn more about key food safety practices at Foodsafety.gov, by following @USDAFoodSafety on Twitter, and by liking Facebook.com/FoodSafety.gov. Consumers with questions about food safety can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov, available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, in English or Spanish.
If you have questions about storage times for food or beverages, download USDA’s FoodKeeper application for Android and iOS devices.