Food Safety for our Families
Ok, so we know the basics. But what about all those issues that pop up at different times in our and our children's lives? What foods should you avoid during pregnancy in order to stay food safe and to reduce the risk of foodborne illness? There are many things to consider, but here are a few tidbits - one mom to all of you out there:
Did you realize you should be extra careful about food safety when pregnant? Especially in the later months, your immune system just isn’t working as well as it did before you were expecting. During pregnancy, symptoms caused by foodborne illnesses may be more severe, and some foodborne illnesses, such as Listeriosis can harm the development of your unborn baby. There are just a few categories of foods that you should avoid to prevent foodborne illnesses from harming you and your baby. The only other thing you need to do is follow the basics, as usual!
* Avoid raw or undercooked meat, poultry, and seafood. Cook these foods to the appropriate internal temperature.
* Heat lunchmeats to a steaming temperature before eating.
* Do not eat soft cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, and bleu cheese, unless it is made with pasteurized milk. The label should say, "made with pasteurized milk."
* Do not consume raw milk or other unpasteurized dairy products.
* Wash your hands whenever you clean up after pets or other animals.
* Keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees or below
Infants place quite a few nutrition responsibilities on their moms and dads! In addition to making sure they get the right foods, follow the following tips for a successful and food safe first year:
* Prepare and store formula and breast milk correctly. For more information on storage and handling, visit government websites on breast milk and infant formula.
* Don't give babies honey or corn syrup (light or dark) until after they reach one year. These foods can harbor bacteria spores that may cause infant botulism. Infant botulism is a rare but potentially life-threatening foodborne illness.
* If you are making your own baby food, make sure that you prepare and store foods correctly. After preparation, baby food should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than 24 hours and kept in the freezer for less than one month.
Toddlers and School-Agers
The comings and goings of toddlers and school-age children can present their own food safety challenges. Help stay on top of your children's health by sticking to the food safety basics and doing the following:
* Always encourage children to wash their hands before and after eating, preparing meals, and going to the bathroom. This is a simple step that is often forgotten by our kids on the go! Also, make sure that your children's school has a hand washing policy for all students before and after meals.
* Be sure to wash your child's lunchbox or bag at least every other day. Throw it in the dishwasher or washing machine to get out the crumbs and spills that may harbor bacteria.
These helpful tips can help keep you and your family food safe.