ORLANDO, Fla. — The new school year is just around the corner!
Students are not the only ones getting ready to back to school but parents as well.
Notebooks, pencils, and backpacks are shopping essentials for this season.
Still, parents are also beginning to plan their children’s lunchbox meals and snacks.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encouraged families to prevent foodborne illness by following safe food handling practices at home during meal preparation and when packing a school lunch.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that foodborne illness results in roughly 48 million people getting sick, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths in the U.S. annually.
Here are nine tips to get an A+ in food safety for this season:
- Use colored cutting boards for meats and veggies.
- Always wash your hands and surfaces; germs that cause food poisoning can survive in many places.
- Wash your cutting boards, utensils, and counters with hot soapy water.
- Separate food to avoid contamination: The CDC said raw meat, chicken and other poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread germs to ready-to-eat food unless you keep them separate.
- Use a food thermometer to ensure you are cooking at the proper temperature.
- Put food in the fridge right away: Bacteria can multiply if left at room temperature; refrigerate perishable food (meat, seafood, dairy, cut fruit, some vegetables, and cooked leftovers) within two hours.
- Thaw frozen foods correctly: Thaw in the refrigerator, run under cold water, or use your microwave.
- Consider purchasing insulated soft-sided lunch boxes and gel packs.
- Choose thinner dishrags instead of sponges because they can better dry between uses. Wash dirty dishrags and towels often.
For more information on food safety, click here.