January 16, 2018

When Food Poisoning and Picnics Go Hand in Hand

Touching foods with hands that aren’t clean is a major source of foodborne illness. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) all have information about preventing illness with handwashing. Here’s what they recommend.

Picnic BasketIf you are planing a picnic at a park, find out ahead of time if there is a source of clean running water. If not, bring jugs of water, soap and clean cloths or paper towels. Moistened towelettes and hand sanitizers are another option. They will reduce, but not eliminate all types of germs.

Making food means washing your hands a lot. You need to wash before, during and after food preparation to reduce the risk of transmitting illness. The best way to wash hands is with soap and running water. Create a lather and rub hands together for about 20 seconds, long enough to hum the Happy Birthday song twice.

During food preparation you need to wash your hands: before you begin, after handling raw produce or meat, after touching the garbage can, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; after clearing dirty dishes, handling dirty equipment, smoking, feeding or petting an animal, changing a diaper and using the restroom. Is this news to you? It was for restaurant workers surveyed by the CDC who found workers handling food washed their hands only 27 percent of the times they should have.  CDC researchers found he following handwashing rates among food workers surveyed: before preparing food, 41%; before putting on gloves to prepare food, 30%; after eating, drinking, using tobacco, coughing, sneezing, using tissue: 26%; after preparing raw animal products, 23%; after handling dirty equipment, 23% and after touching body, 10%.

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