With the summer approaching, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is reminding all Rhode Islanders to help keep themselves and their family members healthy and safe by taking certain precautions when storing and preparing food.
"Healthy eating is not only about choosing nutritious foods, but also about eating foods that are manufactured, stored, and prepared safely," said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. "It is going to be a beautiful weekend in Rhode Island. If your plans include barbecuing or sharing a meal with family and friends in any other way, there are a few simple steps you can take to help keep yourself and your loved ones safe."
Rhode Islanders should remember to:
- Thoroughly wash their hands after using the restroom and before any food preparation. - Thoroughly cook meat, such as hamburgers and chicken. Do not wash poultry (just thoroughly cook it). Washing poultry tends to spread Salmonella, Campylobacter, and other dangerous bacteria. - Not prepare food for others if you are sick with a gastrointestinal illness (sometimes called a "stomach bug"). - Not let food sit out at room temperature if it requires temperature control. Food that requires temperature control should be refrigerated as soon as possible.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have declared June 7th as World Food Safety Day. This is the first time this declaration has been made. Globally, an estimated 600 million people (almost 1 in 10 people in the world) fall ill after eating contaminated food every year and 420,000 people die every year because of contaminated food. Children younger than 5 years old carry 40% of the foodborne disease burden.