On this, Child Health Day, the CleanCutting team wants to talk about an issue that doesn’t get a lot of press: foodborne illness in relation to children.
Children under five years of age fall victim to foodborne illness more often than any other age segment. In fact, annually almost 300,000 kids in the U.S. are diagnosed with foodborne illness, and nearly 8,000 are hospitalized because of it.
The number one bacterial cause of that is salmonella, commonly introduced into kitchens and meals through contact with chicken, but also eggs and unpasteurized milk and cheese. In fact, salmonella accounts for 40 percent of the estimated foodborne illnesses and doctor’s visits for children under five, and 60 percent of hospitalizations and deaths.
This bacterium can live on in your kitchen, in the grooves cut into your cutting boards, on knives and faucet handles, and more.
To help prevent salmonellosis and other foodborne illness:
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after handling raw poultry and eggs.
Store raw meat, poultry and seafood away from other foods in your refrigerator. Every so often, disinfect refrigerator shelves with a beach/water solution.
Never place cooked food on an unwashed plate that previously held raw meat, and don’t use utensils that came into contact with raw meat for stirring or cutting other items.
Have two cutting boards in your kitchen — one for raw meat and the other for fruits and vegetables. Or better yet, save traditional cutting boards for fruits and veggies, and use a CleanCutting Sheet for meats. You can simply toss out the bacteria with the sheet. No more wondering if your cutting board is harboring dangerous bacteria. Try CleanCutting Sheets for yourself!
Cook meat thoroughly. Roasts and steaks should reach an internal temperature of at least 145°, poultry should reach 165° and fish should reach 145°. Any ground meat should reach 160°. Make sure that when microwaving leftovers, that there are NO cold spots left. That’s where bacteria can hide.
Disinfect kitchen counters, sink areas, faucet handles, refrigerator shelves and gadgets such as can openers with a bleach solution of one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water.
Sources: Fight Bac! The partnership for food safety education; The Pew Charitable Trusts; World Health Organization; Food Safety News and the University of Rochester Medical Center