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Food-borne illnesses, such as hepatitis A, salmonella and E. coli are increasing in incidence throughout the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every year in the U.S. there are approximately 3,000 deaths and 128,000 hospitalizations due to food-borne illnesses.
Read about some of the most common food-borne illnesses below.
A few simple steps can help keep food-borne illness off the menu this year. See our Turkey Time safety sheet for more information.
To help prevent food-borne illness, the public is encouraged to follow these simple safe food guidelines:
Clean - Wash hands and surfaces oftenIllness-causing bacteria can survive in many places around your kitchen, including your hands, utensils, and cutting boards. Unless you wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces the right way, you could spread bacteria to your food, and your family. Wash hands the correct way—for 20 seconds with soap and running water.
Separate - Don’t cross-contaminateEven after you’ve cleaned your hands and surfaces thoroughly, raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can still spread illness-causing bacteria to ready-to-eat foods—unless you keep them separate. Use separate cutting boards and plates for produce and for meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
Cook - Cook to the right temperatureThe bacteria that cause food poisoning multiply quickest in the “Danger Zone” between 40˚ and 140˚ Fahrenheit. By using a food thermometer you can be sure you have heated to the proper temperature to avoid illness. It is also important to keep food hot after cooking (at 140 ˚F or above), by using slow cooker or warming tray. Cook roasts and steaks to at least 145F. Whole poultry shouldbe cooked to 180F. Cook ground beef, where bacteria can spread during processing, to at least 160F. Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) links eating undercooked,pink ground beef with a higher risk of illness. If a thermometer is not available, do not eat ground beef that is still pink inside. Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. Don't use recipes in which eggs remain raw or only partially cooked. Fish should be opaque and flake easily with a fork. When cooking in a microwave oven, make sure there are no cold spots in food where bacteria can survive. For best results, cover food, stir and rotate for even cooking. If there is no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking. Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating. Heat other leftovers thoroughly to at least 165F. Chill - Refrigerate promptlyDid you know that illness-causing bacteria can grow in perishable foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them? (And if the temperature is 90 ˚F or higher during the summer, cut that time down to one hour!) However, by refrigerating foods promptly and properly, you can help keep your family safe from food poisoning at home.Refrigerate perishable foods within two hours. Cold temperatures slow the growth of illness causing bacteria.
Top Ten Least Wanted Food-Borne Pathogens
This viral disease, also called infectious hepatitis, has an abrupt onset of fever, unusual fatigue, nausea and abdominal discomfort, followed within a few days by dark urine and jaundice.
This bacteria causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fever. Dehydration, especially among infants, may be severe. The illnesses may persist for several days.
This bacteria causes an intestinal disease characterized by diarrhea with fever, nausea and sometimes vomiting and cramps. This may last four to seven days.
E. Coli 0157:H7
This is an emerging bacterial infection with symptoms similar to shigella, but which may cause severe kidney complications in some children.
Gastroenteritis means inflammation of the stomach and small and large intestines. Viral gastroenteritis is an infection caused by a variety of viruses, resulting in vomiting or diarrhea. It is often called the "stomach flu," although it is not caused by the influenza viruses.
Norovirus is a very contagious virus that can infect anyone. You can get it from an infected person, contaminated food or water or by touching contaminated surfaces.
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