Importance of Food Safety

Congressman Jim Matheson
2014-10-17 17:25:46
Congressman Jim Matheson, 4th Congressional District of Utah Dear Friend, The safety and well-being of Utah�s families are among my top priorities as a Member of Congress. One area of health that affects each of us on a daily basis is food safety. We should all practice basic safety procedures when handling and cooking food. Doing so is fundamental to living a healthy life, and most foodborne illnesses are preventable. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in six Americans gets food poisoning each year. In severe cases, food poisoning can lead to kidney failure, chronic arthritis, and brain and nerve damage. Even less severe cases can be costly, uncomfortable, and disruptive to daily schedules. You might be surprised to learn that the two leading causes of foodborne illness are eating raw or undercooked foods and allowing food to remain at an unsafe temperature for too long. There are a number of simple steps we can follow to protect ourselves from harmful bacteria commonly found in food. The Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Agriculture have prepared a number of resources to help Americans avoid foodborne illnesses. *Clean your hands and food properly.* Hands should be washed regularly (for twenty seconds, with soap and running water) before cooking. It is especially important to wash your hands in between cooking any type of meat or poultry and other ingredients. Surfaces and utensils that are used should also be washed after every use. Although it is important to clean fruits and vegetables (only with water, then dried with a clean towel), it is dangerous to wash meat, poultry, or eggs. Washing raw meat, poultry, and eggs actually helps spread bacteria around working surfaces. *Separate your food.* Meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs should be kept separate from other foods, both at the grocery store and in the refrigerator, in order to avoid cross-contamination. *Cook thoroughly.* �During cooking, a food thermometer can be used to ensure that food is safe to eat. For a list of safe cooking temperatures, please visit the USDA website here:�www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html. After any food has been cooked to 140�F, it needs to be kept hot or refrigerated. Microwaving is another way to cook food thoroughly, but care should be taken to follow microwave directions. Some packaged food labels indicate that the food must sit momentarily after microwaving and prior to consuming. Be sure to follow these instructions, as they are part of the cooking process. *Storage time and methods.* Perishable foods should be refrigerated within two hours or within one hour during warmer months. Leftovers are generally safe in the refrigerator for up to four days. It�s important to maintain a refrigerator�s temperature at 40�F or below in order to prevent the growth of bacteria. Frozen meats should never be thawed on the counter. Alternative safe methods for thawing include the refrigerator, cold water, the microwave, or cooking meat without thawing. The shelf life of canned goods and other food storage depends on the type of food, but generally foods can be stored 2-5 years. However, foods with high acidity, like tomatoes, can only be stored for 18 months. You can find a list of safe refrigerator and freezer times at this website:�www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html. *Throw out spoiled and recalled food.* �Unintentionally consuming spoiled or recalled foods can make you sick. You can sign up to get alerts when food is recalled, and you can also find a list of them here: www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/current-recalls-and-alerts. The federal government has provided many resources for the general public regarding food safety. If you have any questions or concerns, the government website�www.foodsafety.gov�contains further information on food poisoning, cooking safety tips, and specifics on different types of food bacteria. I hope that you and your family find these tips to be helpful for preventing foodborne illness. I am honored to serve in Congress on behalf of Utah families like yours. As your representative, I always appreciate hearing from you on current topics and issues affecting you and our community. Please�let me know�areas you find especially interesting or where I can provide you with additional information. I value your ideas and look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Rep. Jim Matheson U.S. Representative 4th District of Utah � Contact information: Website: matheson.house.gov Washington, DC Office 2211 Rayburn HOB Washington, DC 20515 Phone - (202) 225-3011 Fax - (202) 225-5638 Utah District Office 9067 South 1300 West Suite 101 West Jordan, UT 84088 Phone - (801) 486-1236 Fax - (801) 486-1417 Unsubscribe: matheson.congressnewsletter.net/mail/util.cfm Privacy Policy: matheson.house.gov/Privacy-Policy
October 17, 2014

Dear Friend,

The safety and well-being of Utah�s families are among my top priorities as a Member of Congress. One area of health that affects each of us on a daily basis is food safety. We should all practice basic safety procedures when handling and cooking food. Doing so is fundamental to living a healthy life, and most foodborne illnesses are preventable.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in six Americans gets food poisoning each year. In severe cases, food poisoning can lead to kidney failure, chronic arthritis, and brain and nerve damage. Even less severe cases can be costly, uncomfortable, and disruptive to daily schedules. You might be surprised to learn that the two leading causes of foodborne illness are eating raw or undercooked foods and allowing food to remain at an unsafe temperature for too long.

There are a number of simple steps we can follow to protect ourselves from harmful bacteria commonly found in food. The Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Agriculture have prepared a number of resources to help Americans avoid foodborne illnesses.

Hands should be washed regularly (for twenty seconds, with soap and running water) before cooking. It is especially important to wash your hands in between cooking any type of meat or poultry and other ingredients. Surfaces and utensils that are used should also be washed after every use.

Although it is important to clean fruits and vegetables (only with water, then dried with a clean towel), it is dangerous to wash meat, poultry, or eggs. Washing raw meat, poultry, and eggs actually helps spread bacteria around working surfaces.

Meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs should be kept separate from other foods, both at the grocery store and in the refrigerator, in order to avoid cross-contamination.

 During cooking, a food thermometer can be used to ensure that food is safe to eat. For a list of safe cooking temperatures, please visit the USDA website here:  After any food has been cooked to 140�F, it needs to be kept hot or refrigerated. Microwaving is another way to cook food thoroughly, but care should be taken to follow microwave directions. Some packaged food labels indicate that the food must sit momentarily after microwaving and prior to consuming. Be sure to follow these instructions, as they are part of the cooking process.

Perishable foods should be refrigerated within two hours or within one hour during warmer months. Leftovers are generally safe in the refrigerator for up to four days. It�s important to maintain a refrigerator�s temperature at 40�F or below in order to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Frozen meats should never be thawed on the counter. Alternative safe methods for thawing include the refrigerator, cold water, the microwave, or cooking meat without thawing.

The shelf life of canned goods and other food storage depends on the type of food, but generally foods can be stored 2-5 years. However, foods with high acidity, like tomatoes, can only be stored for 18 months. You can find a list of safe refrigerator and freezer times at this website:   Unintentionally consuming spoiled or recalled foods can make you sick. You can sign up to get alerts when food is recalled, and you can also find a list of them here: The federal government has provided many resources for the general public regarding food safety. If you have any questions or concerns, the government website 

I am honored to serve in Congress on behalf of Utah families like yours. As your representative, I always appreciate hearing from you on current topics and issues affecting you and our community. Please  areas you find especially interesting or where I can provide you with additional information. I value your ideas and look forward to hearing from you.

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Washington, DC Office
2211 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone - (202) 225-3011
Fax - (202) 225-5638
Utah District Office
9067 South 1300 West Suite 101
West Jordan, UT 84088
Phone - (801) 486-1236
Fax - (801) 486-1417