FDA marks World Health Day with food safety steps

On World Health Day, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reminding Americans to do what they can to make sure their food is safe from production to consumption.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said about 2 million people die each year from food and waterborne diseases. In the U.S., about 48 million people (1 in 6) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die each year, according to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To ensure the safety of food WHO and FDA have five recommendations:

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1. Keep clean – wash hands before cooking and after using the bathroom, wash and sanitize cooking surfaces, and protect the kitchen from insects, pets and other animals.

2. Separate raw and cooked foods – use separate equipment and utensils when handling raw food and store food in containers.

3. Cook food thoroughly – cooking food to 158 degrees can help ensure it is safe for consumption.

4. Keep food at safe temperatures – holding temperatures below 41 degrees and above 140 degrees can slow or stop the growth of microorganisms.

5. Use safe water and raw materials – use safe water, wash fruits and vegetables, choose food processed for safety like pasteurized milk and do not use food past its expiration date.

“Rules and regulations alone won’t make foods safe,” Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said in a news release Tuesday. “What matters is how we, as an international community, achieve high rates of compliance with standards that prevent illness.”