Fulton County Cooperative Extension provides food safety tips for preventing foodborne illness | Print |

As the seasons change and warmer weather is on the horizon, more and more cases of foodborne illness will be reported as people are eating out and grilling more during the warmer weather. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50 million Americans get sick from eating food that has not been handled safety resulting in more than 100,000 plus hospitalizations, 3,000 deaths and countless days missed from work. The chance of a person falling ill because of foodborne illness is one in six.

Unsafe handling of food can present an opportunity for potential exposure to bacteria that can make people very sick. According to the CDC, foods that are contaminated may not look, taste or smell any different from foods that are safe to eat. Symptoms of food poisoning can develop within thirty minutes to a few hours or even up to several days after eating food that has been contaminated. Seek medical attention if nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea develop after eating.

In order to help reduce the chances of becoming sick due to foodborne illness, Dr. Judy Harrison, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist with the University of Georgia Family and Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, provides the following tips to the Fight Bac (bacteria):

  • Wash hands with soap before preparing or handling any foods.   Clean and sanitize all surfaces including kitchen surfaces and utensils after each food use.  
  • Don’t cross-contaminate by keeping raw meat, seafood, and poultry separated from other foods when shopping, storing, and during food preparation at home.
  • Cook foods to proper temperature and use a food thermometer to test for meat doneness.
  • Keep cold foods at proper temperature between 35-38 degrees Fahrenheit, and don’t keep buffet foods out of the refrigerator longer than 2 hours at room temperature.  

For more information about other nutrition programs, please contact the Fulton County Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) administrator at 404-762-4077 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Additional information about the Fight Bac program can be found at http://www.fcs.uga.edu/extension/food-keep-food-safe-at-home.