November 28, 2021

Obama Administration Releases Food Safety Tips for Holidays

The Obama Administration has released food safety tips just in time for the holidays. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released a progress report they say highlights the Food Safety Working Group (FSWG) accomplishments, along with information about safe food handling.

Thanksgiving Turkey RoastedThe FSWG was created in 2009 to coordinate the federal government’s food safety activities. Its mission is to “strengthen federal efforts and develop short-term and long-term strategies to improve food safety.” The group is taking a three-dimensional approach to help ensure safe food:

  • Prevention. Using science-based practices to reduce contamination in producers, processors, and distributors. Reduce bacterial pathogens in foods, prevent intentional adulteration, improve produce safety, and initiate “test and hold” practices.
  • Surveillance. Collect and analyze data from farm-to-fork to prevent and control outbreaks and foodborne illness. Initiate a comprehensive approach for foodborne illness surveillance, continue the Reportable Food Registry portal, and monitor antibiotic-resistant bacteria through the Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), and improve import safety.
  • Response. Quickly detect and end foodborne illness outbreaks by strengthening the National Traceback and Response System and using the revised recall process.

The report stresses the government’s role providing safe food to the American consumer. But agencies also have a responsibility to educate consumers about safe food handling practices. The “Food Safe Families” campaign is a multimedia effort that uses radio, print, television, and online advertising to raise awareness of foodborne illness. The key words are:

  • Clean: always wash hands, counter tops, food, appliances, and utensils before and after food preparation.
  • Separate: keep raw and uncooked foods separate, both before and during cooking.
  • Cook: cook foods to a safe final internal temperature.
  • Chill: keep foods cold. Always return foods to the refrigerator or freezer after two hours outside of refrigeration.

You can learn more at Food Safety.gov.

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