The Importance of Food Safety
At some point in your life, have you or someone you’ve known said “oh, my stomach hurts . . . I think it’s something I ate?” If so, chances are you or that someone you know was suffering from “food poisoning” or symptoms from a mild case of foodborne illness. When this happens, the majority of people don’t go to the doctor for advice and instead wait it out until they feel better. However, not all foodborne illnesses are mild. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year while approximately 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. According to the CDC, three pathogens, Salmonella, Listeria, and Toxoplasma, are responsible for approximately half of deaths caused by foodborne illness. Learning about these pathogens and what can be done to reduce or eliminate their presence or prevent their growth in food when eaten is important to food safety and could help save lives in the community you serve. So remember, food safety is shared responsibility and it is up to everyone – government food manufacturers, retailers, farmers, and of course, food handlers like yourself– to take an active role in safe food handling. As you work towards a food handlers card and food handlers certificate online, be sure to recognize how important the principles of safe food handling can be to you, your establishment, community, family, and state that you love.