women 4 hope

Dedicated to addressing women’s issues.

Holiday Food Safety

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 25, 2009

The CDC estimates that there are 76 million cases of food-borne illnesses each year, and of that number more than 300,000 will be hospitalized and 5,000 will die.  Those are high numbers, especially considering these types of illnesses are very preventable.

On Thursday we will all be sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, and some of us will even contract one of these food-borne illnesses.  But there are things we can do to reduce our risk of of food-borne illness.

To start, here is a great video on Holiday Food Safety from the FDA website…

From Nourishing Thoughts – Holiday Food Safety Tips

It’s food safety month. With all the holiday food preparations for large groups it is easy to forget some good food safety habits. We are defrosting foods, preparing some foods early, other foods are sitting out for periods of time. To help you keep your foods germ free, here is a list of some key reminders:

From Anne Louise’s Edge On Health Blog – Spice Up Your Holiday Cooking

Everyone wants a great tasting Thanksgiving feast. Isn’t it nice to know that seasoning with herbs and spices can also kill the bacteria, fungi, and viruses that cause food poisoning?

Better yet, some—like cayenne, cinnamon, garlic, and turmeric—offer well-documented benefits for autoimmune disease, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, lung and neurological problems.

From Consumer Reports – Ask The Expert About Thanksgiving Food Safety

Foodborne illnesses don’t take a holiday just because we do. When you are cooking your turkey, use a meat thermometer to make sure it reaches a temperature high enough to kill bacteria. And remember to keep your cooking surfaces clean to avoid cross-contaminating foods.

Food safety is a big issue all year round, not just around the holidays.  Here are some reasons why.

Last month BlogHer contributing editor Kim Pearson wrote – Once Again, Food Safety is an Urgent Concern

Let’s get one thing straight; I love a good, juicy, flame-grilled burger, preferably with cheese. But I’m not dying for one.

Unfortunately, a story in today’s New York Times reveals that after years of industry self-regulation, tens of thousands of people are sickened every year by E. Coli. a bacteria commonly found in animal feces. In a small percentage of those cases, people are sickened to the point of paralysis or death.

From The Congress Blog – Food Safety Bill Should Be Passed By End of Year

Millions of Americans are sickened with food-related illnesses in the United States every year, with hundreds of thousands of people hospitalized and thousands more dying as a result.

Congress has a historic opportunity to address this critical issue. A food safety bill moving through the U.S. Senate this week has strong, bipartisan support. Lawmakers should act quickly to pass the bill by the end of the year and give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration enhanced authority to oversee the safety of the nation’s food supply.

From Elizabeth at Moms Rising – We Need Food Safety: Ashley’s Story

My five-year-old daughter Ashley loves to swim, go to ballet class and tag along after her big sister Isabella. To the world, Ashley is a picture of health and vitality. While she appears to be thriving, my husband and I struggle to deal with her multiple daily medications, a severely restricted diet and the near-certainty that she will undergo several kidney transplants – all because of contaminated spinach containing E. coli 0157:H7 she ate as a toddler.

Ashley was only two years old when, fighting a serious E. coli 0157:H7 infection, she spent six weeks in a hospital, and four months on dialysis. Today, her kidney function is estimated to be less than 25 percent.

From Eat. Drink. Better – Food Safety and School Lunch Programs

If foods in school lunches came from local producers, growers, and processors, schools would be able to more easily trace food back if there was a problem. And eliminating the storage and transportation steps in the middle could cut down on the possibility for contaminants to get into food or for food to be stored improperly.

There are some people working on this issue. According to The National Farm to School Network, 42 states have operational farm to school programs which reach about 8,943 schools. I have to admit I don’t know the details about those programs or what other programs there are, but this investigation provides at least one other good example of why it should get looked at further.

Also See:

Are you worried about food-born illnesses this holiday season?  Are you taking precautions to prevent these types of illnesses?  Have you or a member of your family ever contracted a food-born illness?  How bad was is?

My Thanksgiving food safety tip is…Never stuff the turkey.  I stick onions, garlic and seasonings inside the turkey while it cooks just to add flavor, but I always make the stuffing separately.  What are your tips for holiday food safety?  Let us know in comments.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
at Catherine-Morgan.com and Women4Hope

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