Whatever happened to widespread epidemics of typhoid fever, tuberculosis and cholera? Did you know that food safety practices such as pasteurization, safe canning and water treatment have resolved many foodborne disease epidemics in the United States? Unfortunately, new food poisoning risks have still managed to emerge. A few reasons for this include:
- The food supply has changed into a bigger, global food supply with new production and processing methods (for example, precut, bagged produce). There is more demand for year-round and fresh produce, and for minimally processed and ethnic foods.
- The number of people at high risk for food poisoning has increased, such as the elderly, pregnant women, infants and young children.
- Microorganisms themselves change and evolve over time.
- According to consumer studies, many of us lack food safety knowledge or don't take responsibility for proper food handling in our homes.
Fortunately, this is something we can take control of immediately by educating ourselves on how to stay safe from food poisoning. To educate yourself on preventing food poisoning in your home, visit www.homefoodsafety.org, or consult a registered dietitian nutritionist in your area.
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Reviewed March 2013