PIERRE, S.D.— The Holidays are among us, it is important to keep the unwelcome guest of foodborne illness from making an appearance at your family gatherings. A state health official and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) offer some simple food safety tips.
“While you enjoy all the holiday festivities, don’t forget good food safety practices,” said Josh Clayton, state epidemiologist. “Wash your hands thoroughly, clean and sanitize work surfaces after preparing raw meat and poultry, cook and store foods at proper temperatures, and don’t prepare food when you’re sick.”
Symptoms of foodborne illness include mild or severe diarrhea, fever, vomiting and abdominal pain. Most people recover on their own without medication but some need to obtain IV fluids to prevent dehydration.
According to a newly released CDC report, during 2018 and early 2019 public officials investigated a nationwide Salmonella outbreak related to raw turkey products. Investigators found the outbreak strain in several brands and types of raw turkey products for people and pets, highlighting the importance of handling and cooking raw turkey safely.
The CDC estimates foodborne illness sickens 48 million Americans every year, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. For South Dakota this estimates to approximately 125,000 illnesses, 340 hospitalizations and eight deaths annually.
Through the end of October, South Dakota had reported 749 cases of the foodborne illnesses Salmonella (146), Campylobacter (481) and E. coli (122) for the year, up from the 5-year baseline of 639 cases.
State health official, Josh Clayton recommends the following safety tips for preparing holiday foods:
- Clean and sanitize. Wash hands, cutting boards, utensils and counter tops.
- Separate. Keep raw meat and poultry separate from ready-to-eat foods.
- Cook foods to a safe temperature, checking with a food thermometer (145°F for whole meats, 160°F for ground meats, 165°F for poultry and stuffing).
- Chill. Keep your refrigerator below 40°F and refrigerate leftovers right away.
- When cooking food ahead of time cool it quickly and reheat properly.
- Don’t lick the bowl if raw eggs are in the batter; don’t use raw eggs in eggnog.
- Never use unpasteurized milk in eggnog or homemade ice cream, or for drinking.
Take the steps to prevent foodborne illness this Holiday season, learn more about food safety by clicking HERE.