National Food Safety Education Month Observed September 2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 30, 2001

National Food Safety Education Month Observed September 2001
Water Quality & Health Council and National Consumers League Offer Simple Tips To Help Consumers Keep Their Kitchens Safe

ARLINGTON, VA (August 30, 2001) – September is National Food Safety Education Month, an annual observance to focus attention on the importance of safe food handling and preparation. Seeking to raise awareness and help reduce the 76 million cases of foodborne illnesses that occur each year, the Water Quality & Health Council and the National Consumers League are distributing simple food safety tips for consumers to use in their homes.

Though the food supply in the United States is one of the safest in the world, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 76 million people get sick, more than 300,000 are hospitalized, and 5,000 Americans die each year from foodborne illness.

According to Linda Golodner, President of the National Consumers League, “The danger of contracting illnesses from foodborne pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella is very real. Preventing such diseases requires diligent efforts in home kitchens and wherever food is prepared.”

The CDC warns that many homemakers mistakenly believe that home kitchens are relatively risk free environments. A recent CDC study found that only 16 percent of consumers think food safety problems are likely to occur in the home. However, U.S. Food and Drug Administration research indicates that nearly 60 percent of raw poultry purchased by consumers contains disease-causing organisms – thereby underscoring the importance of safe food preparation and handling practices in home kitchens.

Joan Rose, Chair of the Water Quality & Health Council, provides advice on keeping home kitchens healthy: “Consumers can reduce the risk of exposure to disease-causing organisms in their home kitchens by thoroughly cooking foods (until juices run clear in meats and poultry), refrigerating leftovers promptly, not eating uncooked and unpasteurized eggs, washing hands and cooking surfaces with disinfectants and frequently soaking sponges, dishcloths and dish towels in a chlorine bleach solution to kill germs.”

These and other tips are attached to this release in a camera-ready format. Please feel free to quote from them individually or to print the tips sheet in its entirety.

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The Water Quality and Health Council is an independent, multidisciplinary group sponsored by the Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council. Its mission is to promote science based practices and policies to enhance water quality and health by advising industry, health professionals, policy makers and the public. For more information, visit www.waterandhealth.org.

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Its mission is to identify, protect, represent, and advance the economic and social interests of consumers and workers. NCL is a private, nonprofit membership organization. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.

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