MADISON—In recognition of World Food Safety Day on Sunday, June 7, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is reminding consumers to be proactive and practice safe food handling to prevent foodborne illnesses.
World Food Safety Day was created to draw attention and inspire action to prevent, detect and manage foodborne hazards, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, tourism and sustainable development. Each year, an estimated 600 million people—nearly one in 10 worldwide—become ill after eating contaminated food, resulting in 420,000 deaths.
While there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through food or food packaging, there are numerous other reasons to remember the importance of safe food-handling. Unsafe food can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, causing more than 200 diseases with symptoms ranging from diarrhea to neurological disorders.
“Recently, the American food supply has received a lot of attention,” said Steve Ingham, administrator for the DATCP Division of Food and Recreational Safety. “On World Food Safety Day, we should first be thankful for the abundant and safe food supply that we continue to enjoy. As businesses begin reopening, we should also be grateful for the many state, local and federal food safety professionals who work with business operators to ensure that our food supply is safe. Food safety is a team effort and every consumer can do their part, too.”
To protect consumer health and ensure food safety, DATCP encourages everyone to follow some key points from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) five keys to safer food:
- Keep clean: Wash hands before, during and after handling food. Clean and sanitize all surfaces and equipment used for food preparation.
- Separate raw and cooked food: Store food in containers to avoid contact between raw and cooked foods. Use separate equipment for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
- Cook thoroughly: Bring foods like soups and stews to boiling temperature. For meat and poultry, use a thermometer to ensure proper internal temperatures.
- Keep food at safe temperatures: Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than two hours, and do not thaw frozen food at room temperature.
- Use safe water and raw materials: Wash all fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw. Do not consume food that has not been stored at proper temperatures.
Learn more about World Food Safety Day and what consumers can do to avoid foodborne illnesses: https://www.who.int/news-room/
Additional Resources to Prevent Foodborne Illnesses