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Be Food Safe

Photo: Women at a baby shower.Most people do not think about food safety until they or someone they know becomes infected with foodborne illness. People usually become infected with foodborne illness when they eat a contaminated food item.


September is National Food Safety Education Month®.

A young girl slicing fruit
It's National Food Safety Month®

An estimated 76 million cases of foodborne disease occur each year in the United States. CDC estimates that there are 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths related to foodborne diseases each year. With the recent high-profile Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak fresh on our minds, now is an ideal time for food safety education.

Common Foodborne Illnesses and Symptoms

The most common foodborne illnesses are caused by the bacteria Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. coli O157:H7, and by a group of viruses called calicivirus, also known as the Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses. Symptoms vary depending on the type of bacteria and severity of the illness. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. See your doctor or healthcare provider when diarrheal illness is accompanied by a high fever (temperature over 101.5°F, measured orally), blood in the stools, prolonged vomiting that prevents keeping liquids down, signs of dehydration, including a decrease in urination, a dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up or if diarrheal illness lasts more than 3 days

Reducing Your Risk

You can reduce your risk of becoming infected with foodborne illness. Do not eat raw or undercooked meat, including hamburgers, poultry, and seafood, and do not drink raw milk or eat products made from raw milk. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water and always follow the rules of food safety.

Rules of Food Safety

Safe Internal Temperatures

Hamburgers — 160°F

Roasts, steaks, chops — 160°F

Ground poultry — 165°F

Poultry parts — 170°F

Pork — 160°F

Hot dogs/leftovers — 165°F

    Clean your hands with soap and warm water before handling food. Clean surfaces before preparing food on them.
    Separate cooked foods from ready-to-eat foods. Do not use utensils on cooked foods that were previously used on raw foods and do not place cooked foods on plates where raw foods once were unless it has been cleaned thoroughly.
  • COOK
    Cook foods to a safe internal temperature (see chart). Use a meat thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to a safe temperature. Color is not an indicator of doneness.
    Chill foods promptly after serving and when transporting from one place to another. Keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

More Information

For more information about foodborne illness and food safety, call 1-800-CDC-INFO, e-mail, or visit these Web sites:

*Links to non-federal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the federal government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at these links. The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348, 24 Hours/Every Day -

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