Is Your Food Safe?

“Germany Shuts School Over E. Coli Scare.”​—REUTERS NEWS SERVICE, GERMANY.

“Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Sprouts in Five States.”​—USA TODAY.

“Meat of 6 Cows Fed Radioactive Straw Reaches 9 Prefectures.”​—THE MAINICHI DAILY NEWS, JAPAN.

THE above headlines appeared during a two-week period last year. Researchers estimate that each year about 30 percent of people in developed countries suffer from foodborne illness.

How do such reports affect you? “I get worried and even angry,” admits Hoi, a father in Hong Kong. “I have two children, and I am concerned about how and where their food is made.”

In poorer countries, foodborne and waterborne diseases kill millions​—mostly children—​every year. “In the markets here, food items are exposed to flies, rain, wind, and dust,” says Bola, who lives in Nigeria. “When I read or hear about food diseases, I feel scared. I want to protect my family.”

Is it possible to protect your family from unsafe food? The Canadian Food Inspection Agency states: “If unsafe food gets into our grocery stores, it makes headlines. And rightly so. But unsafe food, which could lead to foodborne illness, can also happen from what we do​—or don’t do—​in our own kitchens.”

What can you do to protect your family from foodborne illness? We will consider four ways to make your food safer.

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WHO ARE AT RISK?

Some groups of people are particularly vulnerable to foodborne illness, including:

● Children under the age of five

● Pregnant women

● People over the age of 70

● People with compromised immune systems

If you or anyone eating with you falls into one of these categories, you should be particularly cautious about the food you prepare, serve, and eat.

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Source: New South Wales Food Authority, Australia.