Are you worried about food safety? Is your kitchen sanitary? Is your dishwasher killing the bacteria on your utensils and dishes? Here are some interesting statistics from the CDC:
CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.
What can consumers do to protect themselves from food borne illness?
A few simple precautions can reduce the risk of food borne diseases:
- CLEAN: Wash your hands with soap and water before preparing food. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils (including knives), and counter tops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before going on to the next food. Wash produce. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables in running tap water to remove visible dirt and grime. Remove and discard the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage. Because bacteria can grow well on the cut surface of fruit or vegetable, be careful not to contaminate these foods while slicing them up on the cutting board, and avoid leaving cut produce at room temperature for many hours. Don’t be a source of food borne illness yourself. Avoid preparing food for others if you yourself have a diarrheal illness. Changing a baby’s diaper while preparing food is a bad idea that can easily spread illness.
- SEPARATE: Don’t cross-contaminate one food with another. Avoid cross-contaminating foods by washing hands, utensils, and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry and before they touch another food. Put cooked meat on a clean platter, rather back on one that held the raw meat.
- COOK: meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly. Using a thermometer to measure the internal temperature of meat is a good way to be sure that it is cooked sufficiently to kill bacteria. For example, ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160o F. Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.
- CHILL: Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature, so refrigerate leftover foods if they are not going to be eaten within 4 hours. Large volumes of food will cool more quickly if they are divided into several shallow containers for refrigeration.
- REPORT: Report suspected food borne illnesses to your local health department. The local public health department is an important part of the food safety system. Often calls from concerned citizens are how outbreaks are first detected. If a public health official contacts you to find out more about an illness you had, your cooperation is important. In public health investigations, it can be as important to talk to healthy people as to ill people. Your cooperation may be needed even if you are not ill.
For more information on preventing food borne illnesses, please visit FoodSafety.gov, the federal gateway for food safety information.
I would like to focus on the first point made in this article: CLEAN
For example, many dishwashers have a “sanitize” cycle. Do you use it? What does it mean when the manufacturer states that the “sanitize” cycle is NSF certified?
Benefits of NSF Certification for Consumers
No other independent testing programs require companies to comply with the strict standards imposed by NSF and its product certification programs. From extensive product testing and material analyses to unannounced plant inspections, NSF is the only third-party testing organization to undertake a complete evaluation of every aspect of a product’s development before it can earn our certification.
Most importantly for you, NSF Certification is not a one-time activity. We do not just test a single model of a product and give it our okay. Our certification programs require regular on-site inspections of the manufacturing facilities. In addition, certified products are periodically re-tested against the requirements of the most current version of the applicable national standard. If for any reason a product fails to meet one or more of our certification criteria, we will take whatever enforcement actions we deem necessary to protect the public, including product recall, public notification, or de-certification.
Please note that NSF does not rate or compare the products we certify. We understand that each consumer has unique needs, so we developed our programs to verify that each product we certify meets the requirements of the applicable national standard. In addition, if a performance claim is being made for a product, such as a water treatment device, we ensure that the product actually is able to meet that claim.
Credibility is what NSF Certification is all about.
NSF uses the terms “certified” or “listed” in connection with a product, good, component, system, material, compound or ingredient (“Product”). A Product that is certified or listed means that NSF: (1) reviewed the Product, most often through a sampling of the Product; (2) determined at the time of the review that the Product complies with the relevant NSF consensus standard and/or protocol (“Standard”); and (3) conducted or will conduct (as more specifically set forth in the Standard) periodic audits to review whether the Product continues to comply with the Standard. After NSF certifies or lists the Product, NSF authorizes the manufacturer of the Product to use the NSF Mark on or in connection with the sale, use or distribution of that Product. The NSF Mark conveys that an independent, third-party organization (NSF) has determined that the Product complies with the relevant Standard.
For example, Bosch dishwashers have a “sanitize” cycle. What does that mean?
By operating at a higher temperature, the sanitize option meets National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standards of cleanliness, eliminating 99.9% of bacteria, and enhances your drying results as well.
A-1 Appliance sells Bosch dishwashers! Contact me at the links below or stop by the showroom and I’ll show you the NSF label. We have a large selection of dishwashers with the features you need to protect your family from food-borne illness. It’s all about CLEAN!