Food Safety Facts and Figures

Reviewed by Eleese Cunningham, RDN
food safety sign


Here are seven things you should know about food safety.

Did you know?
...that each year roughly one out of six Americans (that's 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases.

Did you know?
...that reducing foodborne illness by just 1 percent would keep about 500,000 Americans from getting sick each year. Reducing foodborne illness by 10 percent would keep about 5 million from getting sick.

Did you know?
...that leftovers should be stored in airtight shallow containers (two inches or less) for rapid cooling and to prevent the spread of bacteria. The time it takes for food in a large container to cool can be long enough for bacteria to grow. Never allow leftovers to cool to room temperature before refrigerating them.

Did you know?
...a large percentage of food poisoning cases could be eliminated if people washed their hands more often when preparing and handling food.

Did you know?
...that recent studies show there's no real benefit to washing meat and poultry. In fact, if you think you're removing bacteria from meat and poultry by washing it, you actually might be allowing germs to spread to other ready-to-eat foods and causing cross-contamination in the process. The way to kill bacteria is to cook all meat, poultry and seafood to proper temperatures. And remember to use a meat thermometer to check if your meat is done!

Did you know?
...that the same pathogens that cause food poisoning can cause arthritis, kidney failure, meningitis and Guillain-Barré syndrome. The Food and Drug Administration estimates that about two to three percent of all food poisoning cases lead to secondary long-term illness such as these.

Did you know?
...that certain people have an increased risk for foodborne illness. These "at risk" groups include:

  • Pregnant women and newborns
  • Older adults
  • People with weakened immune systems and chronic illness including diabetes, kidney disease, AIDS and some cancer patients.

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