4 Common Kids’ Food Safety Myths
Sep 4, 2013 - 11:07:19 AM
For National Food Safety Education month in September 2013, the Partnership for Food Safety Education along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration helps parents get the facts behind some common myths about things kids do and eat with Kids' Home Food Safety Mythbusters:
MYTH: Only kids eat raw cookie dough and cake batter. If we just keep kids away from the raw products when adults are baking, there won't be a problem!
FACT: Just a lick can make you sick!
No one of any age should eat raw cookie dough or cake batter because it could contain germs that cause illness. Whether it's pre-packaged or homemade, the heat from baking is required to kill germs that might be in the raw ingredients. The finished, baked, product is far safer - and tastes even better! And remember, kids who eat raw cookie dough and cake batter are at greater risk of getting food poisoning than most adults are.
MYTH: When kids cook it is usually "heat and eat" snacks and foods in the microwave. They don't have to worry about food safety - the microwaves kill the germs!
FACT: Microwaves aren't magic!
It's the heat the microwaves generate that kills the germs! Food cooked in a microwave needs to be heated to a safe internal temperature. Microwaves often heat food unevenly, leaving cold spots in food where germs can survive. Kids can use microwaves properly by carefully following package instructions. Even simple "heat and eat" snacks come with instructions that need to be followed to ensure a safe product. Use a food thermometer if the instructions tell you to!
MYTH: When kids wash their hands, just putting their hands under running water is enough to get the germs off.
FACT: Rubbing hands with water and soap is the best way to go!
Water is just part of what you need for clean hands! Washing hands properly is a great way to reduce the risk of food poisoning. Here's how:
Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap. Rub them together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of hands, between fingers, and under nails. Continue rubbing for at least 20 seconds. Sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice to time yourself! Rinse hands well under running water. Dry your hands using a clean towel, paper towel, or an air dryer.
MYTH: My kids only eat pre-packaged fruits and veggies for snacks because those snacks don't need to be washed before they eat them.
FACT: Read your way to food safety!
Giving your kids healthy snacks is a big plus for them! But just because produce is wrapped, it doesn't always mean it's ready to eat as is. Read the label of your product to make sure it is says: "ready-to-eat," "washed," or "triple washed." If it does, you're good to go! If it doesn't, wash your hands and then rinse the fruits or vegetables under running tap water. Scrub firm items, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush. Dry with a clean cloth towel or paper towel to further reduce germs that may be present.
The CDC has estimated that kids under 4 years old are 4.5 times more likely to acquire bacterial infections from food compared to adults between 20 and 49 years old. These myths draw attention to easily avoidable actions that could reduce a child's risk of food poisoning.
"These food safety myths and facts can help parents become aware of practices in their homes that could be putting their children at risk for foodborne illness." says Shelley Feist, the Partnership's Executive Director.
The Partnership has made free, downloadable materials for educators and consumers available as part of Kids' Home Food Safety Mythbusters. A flyer with all of the myths, a PowerPoint Presentation, and other consumer friendly tools can be found at http://www.fightbac.org/
The Partnership for Food Safety Education is on a mission to engage kids and parents in learning about preventing foodborne illness. In addition to Kids' Home Food Safety Mythbusters, the Partnership has released the "Fight BAC!® at Picnic Park" food safety education program. The program includes a variety of educational materials including Perfect Picnic for iPhone and iPad, where kids build a successful picnic park. All materials are available for free download atwww.fightbac.org/kids.
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About the Partnership for Food Safety Education
The Partnership for Food Safety Education is the originator of science-based food safety messages and the national leader in developing and disseminating information around the linkage of food safety consumer education with positive health outcomes. Food safety and health educators, and consumers, can download free food safety education information from the Partnership's website atwww.fightbac.org, recognized in 2013 as a Parents' Choice Approved winner.
The Partnership unites representatives from the food industry, professional societies in food science, nutrition and health consumer groups, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration to educate the public about preventing foodborne illness.
The Partnership is supported by the Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, NSF International, the Produce Marketing Association, ServSafe, and Cargill among other leading industry associations, professional societies in food science, nutrition and health, and consumer groups.
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