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Food SafetyNHM Health Focus: Food Safety

September 2009


Food Safety Organizations
 – Partnership for Food Safety Education

 – International Food Safety Council
 – Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA)
 – Food Safety Office (CDC)

 – Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA)
 – National Restaurant Assn. Educational Foundation

Food Safety
 – Gateway to Government Food Safety Information
 – Frequently Asked Questions About Food Irradiation (CDC)
 – Food Safety and Human Health (EPA)
 – Pesticide Effects on Food Safety (EPA)
 – Consumer Advice (CFSAN)
 – Food Preparation and Foodborne Illness (FDA)

Foodborne Illness
 – Bacteria and Foodborne Illness (NIDDK)
 – Foodborne Diseases (NIAID)
 – The "Bad Bug Book" (CSFAN, FDA)
 – Should I eat the fish I catch? (pdf file) (EPA)

To keep food safe and prevent foodborne illnesses, we:

Clean! Separate! Cook! and Chill!

Clean - Clean hands, cutting boards, knives, countertops, and utensils.

Separate - Separate raw meat, fish and poultry in your grocery cart, and put them on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator so any drips will not contaminate other food. Use separate utensils, cutting boards and bowls for different types of food.

Cook - Cook food at a high enough temperature and for long enough to kill any bacteria.

Chill - Refrigerate (40°F or lower) or freeze (0°F) leftover foods within two hours of cooking.
Partnership for Food Safety Education

Clean, separate, cook and chill are important guidelines for safe food preparation, but what about safe food storage? Between the time food is first harvested or prepared and the time it arrives at our tables, it must be stored in a way that assures its safety and maintains its quality. That is, it must be preserved. Food preservation requires that the organisms competing with us for our food (bacteria, fungi, beetles, and more) be killed or inhibited.

Depending on the type of food and our circumstances, we can use cold temperatures (refrigeration and freezing), high temperatures (cooking and canning), salt (pickling, jerky), sugar (jams, jellies), dessication (beans, jerky), and irradiation to discourage organisms competing for our food. People have been salting and drying food for centuries. Chilling and freezing are more convenient when we have ready access to refrigerators and freezers and a reliable source of electricity to keep them running. Irradiation is newer and in the United States, less common. However, NASA astronauts and the US military have been dining on irradiated food since 1960. Irradiation preserves the food and decreases the need for use of chemical fumigants and other preservatives.

Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has these resources related to food and food safety:

Activities Exchange: Mystery Spot - Two Forks, Idaho
Activities Exchange: Classic Collection - Handwashing
Health Headquarters: Health Focus - Functional Foods
Health Headquarters: Health Focus - Handwashing
Health Headquarters: Question of the Week - Salmonella
Health Headquarters: Question of the Week - Germs
Health Headquarters: Question of the Week - Food Safety
Health Headquarters: Question of the Week - Washing Away the Germs
Health Headquarters: Question of the Week - Expiration Dates

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