October 23, 2018

FDA Compiles Mythbusters for National Food Safety Month

September is National Food Safety Month. To help educate children about food safety, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has complied some home food safety mythbusters.

FDAMyth No. 1 is that only children eat cookie dough. Not true, says the FDA. Although the raw ingredients in cookie dough can pose  a health risk, plenty of adults still eat it, but shouldn’t. In 2009, an E.coli outbreak linked to prepackaged cookie dough sickened more than 70 people in 30 states, some of whom developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious, sometimes life-threatening  condition that develops after some E. coli infections. When it comes to cookies, waiting for the baked version is the safest option.

Myth No. 2, microwaving foods kills all the germs.  Not true. Because microwaves often heat food unevenly, food that is heated in a microwave can contain cold spot where germs can survive.  It’s important to use a food thermometer and follow the instructions carefully. In May, an E.coli outbreak linked to Farm Rich frozen snack foods sickened 35 people in 19 states. Nine people were hospitalized.

Myth No. 3, rinsing your hands with water gets the germs off. Nope. Soap is necessary. The best method is rubbing soapy hands together under warm running water fro 20 seconds, or as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.

Myth No. 4, prepackaged fruit does not need to be washed before it’s eaten. It depends. Read the label. If it says “ready-to-eat,” “washed,” or “triple washed,” you’re good to go, says the FDA.  If it doesn’t, wash your hands, then rinse the fruits or vegetables under cool running tap water. Use a clean produce brush to scrub fruits and veggies with firm skins such as melons and cucumbers. After you wash the produce,  dry it with a clean cloth or paper towel.

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