September is National Food Safety Education month. The goal is to raise awareness about the importance of food safety. In home care providers especially need to take extra care with food safety, as elders are more susceptible to get sick if there is a safety issue with the food they eat.
The campaign to heighten awareness of food safety was started in 1994. Every year there is a new theme and also some free training activities for the food service industry. Statistics show that there is more risk to eating out than eating food prepared at home.
- Avoid eating undercooked or raw foods that are meant to be fully cooked, like ground beef for example.
- Thoroughly wash produce purchased at the store or the farmer’s market.
- Don’t use the same utensils on cooked meat that you used when it was raw.
- Don’t cut vegetables on the same cutting board that had raw meat on it.
- Discard leftover food after 3 or 4 days in the fridge.
- Don’t eat food that smells or looks bad or suspicious.
- Don’t eat food that is past its expiry date.
- Wash hands well after using the toilet and before handling food.
- Be careful to not let pets around food.
- Don’t eat food that has been left out at room temperature for more than 1 hour.
Many elderly people may be immuno-compromised, which means their immune system is not functioning at full capacity. This makes it a lot more difficult for their bodies to fight off food-borne illness.
Quick facts on food safety
- Keep raw eggs cold and use before the expiry date.
- A home fridge should be set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- The home freezer should be at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Check fridge and freezer temperatures with a thermometer and make appropriate adjustments.
- Avoid over packing food in the fridge. The cold air is supposed to be able to circulate around the fridge items to keep them properly chilled to the correct temperature.
- When spills happen in the fridge, clean them up immediately to prevent any cross-contamination.
- Clean the fridge out frequently, checking and discarding old food, wiping down walls and shelves and clean the seal around the fridge door so that food particles don’t prevent a good tight seal when the door is closed.
- When grocery shopping in hot weather, take along a cooler or insulated foil bags that keep frozen things cold to transport the food home.
- Fresh groceries should be put away immediately upon returning home to keep the fresh foods chilled.
If you have a loved one who could benefit from the help of home care services in Greece, NY contact the caregivers at Caring Hearts of Rochester, LLC. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care service. Call (585) 245-0134 for more information.
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