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April 2009

Food Safety

The average American spends about 1.11 hours of his day eating and drinking. So it comes as no surprise that food safety is such an important aspect of everyday life. On average, about 76 million Americans become ill due to a food related disease. But these occurrences can be prevented with a few simple tips. Many people do not think about food safety until a food-related illness affects them or a family member. While the food supply in the United States is one of the safest in the world, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 76 million people get sick, more than 300,000 are hospitalized, and 5,000 Americans die each year from foodborne illness. Preventing foodborne illness and death remains a major public health challenge.

Keep It Clean!

Wash hands before handling food. When preparing food, make sure your tools such as cookware and utensils are clean. Ensure your countertops are clean. When handling fresh fruit and vegetables, make certain that they are rinsed thoroughly. And wash the lids of all canned goods before opening.

Keep The Temperature Right.

Temperature is important when dealing with food. Make sure all meats are cooked thoroughly. Eat food promptly; eat hot foods while they are still hot and cold foods while they are still cold. DO NOT eat food that has been left out for more than two hours. Ensure that you are properly storing food in a refrigerator. If possible, freeze your meats to prolong storage time.

Store Food Properly.

Make sure that all food is stored properly. Meats, seafood and perishables should be stored in a refrigerator, with a temperature of up to 41 degrees, or a freezer with a temperature of zero degrees. Eggs should be stored in their carton where the temperature is cooler rather than the refrigerator door. Leftovers should be stored in a shallow dish and should be discarded after 3 days. Read all canned goods labels for proper storing techniques.

All food served at University-sponsored Campus and Public events must be obtained from the campus caterer or from a food establishment that is permitted by the Suffolk or Nassau County Department of Health Services. If the campus caterer is not used, a Food Permit from the Department of Environmental Health & Safety is required. Under no circumstances may food for Campus or Public events be prepared or stored in any private residence or dormitory. All food must be prepared, transported, stored and served in accordance with University policy.

For all of your Food Safety Questions, call the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at (631) 632-6410

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