Winter: Are You Safe from Foodborne Illness?

The temperatures are dropping and the holidays are here. This time of year, we gather with friends and family to enjoy food, drinks and each other’s company. Unfortunately, the winter season is also a peak time for foodborne illness.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that food poisoning causes about 48 million illnesses each year in the United States. Of those, 128,000 people are hospitalized and 3,000 die. The CDC reports that nearly half of the deaths due to foodborne illness occur during the months of November through April.

It’s important to keep your family safe this winter by following these simple steps provided by the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition:

Winter: Are You Safe from Foodborne Illness?

Many people think that foodborne illness is something that only happens during the summer. They associate food poisoning with warm weather and warm foods, like mayo-based potato and macaroni salads, or hamburgers and hot dogs. But winter brings its own challenges for keeping food safe. During the holiday season, when our refrigerators are crowded with leftovers and we’re often preparing large meals in our kitchens, it’s important to remember that the key to preventing foodborne illness is all about keeping “cold foods cold and hot foods hot.”

Dangers of Cold Food

Bacteria grow most rapidly in temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes. This range of temperatures is often called the “Danger Zone.” Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature (70°F), so don’t leave perishable food out of refrigeration for more than two hours. If you’ll be serving food outdoors (especially on a warm day), keep cold foods cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice.

Dangers of Warm Food

Cooking your food thoroughly is one of the most important things you can do to keep your family safe from foodborne illness. In

Winter: Are You Safe from Foodborne Illness?

As winter temperatures drop, food safety becomes even more important. Bacteria grow slowly or not at all at temperatures below 40°F and above 140°F. Refrigeration slows the growth of bacteria in foods. Freezing stops the growth of bacteria and keeps food safe indefinitely as long as it stays frozen.

The problem is that most people don’t use their refrigerators properly. Most refrigerators are kept far too warm, allowing bacteria to grow on food within 24 hours, posing a risk to anyone who eats it. Here are some tips for keeping your refrigerator at the proper temperature:

* If you don’t have a thermometer inside your refrigerator, get one! A thermometer will tell you if your refrigerator is at the proper temperature of 40°F or below.

* Keep your refrigerator set at or below 40°F and the freezer set at 0°F or lower.

* Check the settings every time you close the door to make sure that someone hasn’t accidentally changed them.

* If there is a discrepancy between what you have the refrigerator set at and what the thermometer reads, call a technician to check it out.

* Never defrost food in room

Cooking for your family is one of the greatest pleasures of being a parent. Everyone loves a home cooked meal and the warm homey feeling that comes from eating together around your kitchen or dining room table. But have you ever considered the safety of your family when it comes to food handling?

This is especially important in the winter months. The risk for foodborne illness increases during cold months because many people are cooking indoors with less fresh air and fewer windows open to ventilate their kitchens. People tend to cook more comfort foods too, which may require longer cooking times than other meals, like casseroles.

Many raw ingredients are also used during this time of year that can increase the risk of contamination, such as flour and eggs (in baking).

To be safe when cooking and storing food in the winter months:· Use a meat thermometer when cooking meat and poultry;· Wash hands often with soap and warm water;· Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, counter tops and cutting boards immediately after each use;· Store different types of food separately in clean containers with tight lids;· Store all leftovers in clean containers with tight lids;· Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator or microwave instead of leaving

Cold winter weather can pose a threat to your family’s safety. At home, foodborne illness is one of the biggest risks. Because of the way bacteria grows, food can become unsafe in the warm winter months, which makes it critical to follow food safety guidelines.

It is dangerous if your refrigerator temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because warmer temperatures cause bacterial growth on food. That means that you should aim to keep your refrigerator as close to 40 degrees Fahrenheit as possible. If you are unsure about the temperature, purchase a refrigerator thermometer to ensure your food is safe for consumption.

When using a microwave oven, be sure that no one touches the door while it is still hot from being used. When you open the door after using the microwave, steam will escape, which can potentially burn someone standing nearby or cause a fire if placed in too close proximity to flammable materials. Also be careful when removing items from a microwave oven; they should feel slightly cooler than room temperature before being eaten or served because heating them up may not be enough to kill bacteria that causes foodborne illness.

If you live in an area where cold weather is common during winter months, consider investing in an ice chest or other way of keeping cold foods

The winter months bring more than jingle bells, eggnog, and holiday cheer. They also bring a rise in foodborne illness during the holidays.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, families and friends gather together to share meals and celebrate. While this is a time for joy, it’s also a time when people need to focus on food safety. Foodborne illnesses can be prevented by following some simple tips in the kitchen.

The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline recommends that you keep hot foods hot (140°F or warmer) and cold foods cold (40°F or colder). This is especially important when preparing large meals for a group, as food may spend extra time “in the danger zone” between 40℉ and 140℉ where bacteria can grow rapidly.

The winter months are here and there are some important facts to remember about your food and how to keep it safe. Did you know that cold weather can affect the safety of your food? You may not have thought about the food in your car or outside getting cold. You need to be aware of what foods can be affected by the cold and what you should do with them.

You should never leave perishable foods out at room temperature for more than two hours (or one hour if temperatures are above 90º F). Eating food that has been left out too long at room temperature can make you sick, even if it has been cooked. This is because bacteria grow rapidly when this type of food is kept at temperatures between 40º F and 140º F (“The Danger Zone”).

When shopping, always put meat and poultry into separate bags from other foods, especially foods that will not be cooked (like fresh produce). Put these raw meats into your freezer or refrigerator as soon as possible. When transporting cold groceries in a car during the winter, put them in an insulated bag or cooler with ice packs to keep them below 40º F.

When using a refrigerator thermometer, always keep it in the warmest part of your refrigerator (usually on the door

Leave a Reply