It’s the season of ball games, picnics and many other gatherings when we enjoy not only the activity, but our summer food favorites. With this in mind, you know the basics of food safety
- Keep hot foods hot (above 140 degrees) and cold foods cold (below 40 degrees).
- Don’t let food sit out at room temperature for more than two hours, or one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees.
- And above all… when in doubt, throw it out. It’s not worth becoming ill over trying to save the leftovers.
The topic for today is a certain type of bacteria that is prevalent during the summer activities and especially affects our children. Campylobacteriosis is one of the most common causes of bacterial diarrhea. Children under the age of 5 are the most susceptible, although all children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems could easily be affected. Typically most cases of this bacteria are associated with raw chicken or turkey or unpasteurized milk and a few cases have involved contaminated water or foods prepared with contaminated water. Symptoms usually occur within 2-10 days and could include fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea (often bloody). The illness can last about a week. So, what can you do to control this bacteria in your home?
- Use a thermometer to make sure that all meat and poultry are cooked to the correct temperatures. The campylobacter bacteria is fragile and easily destroyed by cooking to a safe internal temperature. What temperatures? All poultry to a minimum of 165 degrees, egg dishes and casseroles to 160 degrees, all raw ground meat to 160 degrees and all other meats to 145 degrees. The only way to know the temperature is to use a calibrated thermometer. If you don’t have one you might want to add it to your shopping list.
- All knives, cutting boards and food preparation areas should be washed with hot soapy water before and after working with raw poultry, meat and seafood. Remember to keep raw meats away from foods that will not be cooked such as fruits, salads or snacks.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers and handling pets. Consider using paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
For more information, go to http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/campylobacter/
Now, on to an opportunity I have for you. If you found this information interesting, are the parent or guardian of children under the age of 9 and you’d like to learn more from the comforts of your home, please read on. I am part of a research study from Ohio State where they are using e-mail messages to increase your knowledge of food safety. There are six weeks of participation during which you will receive four educational messages along with a pre and post- test. You will receive an honorarium of $10 to begin and another $10 when you complete the study.
The study will only involve one trip to the Extension office; the rest can be done at your convenience. I’d love to sign you up so if you are interested please e-mail me at email@example.com or call the office at 330-264-8722 and we’ll get started! Tell your friends, relatives and co-workers you can all work on it together!
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.