Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Make sure your Thanksgiving guests go home with happy memories, not stomach cramps

By USDA FoodSafety.gov
The holidays are here, which means you’re probably getting ready to share meals and merriment with families and friends.

This can be a fantastic and yummy time of the year. But if you don’t take care while preparing all that delicious holiday food, you can put people at risk for food poisoning.

Anyone can get sick from food poisoning, but some folks are at higher risk. Kids under age 5, seniors and women who are pregnant are all more likely to get sick from food and have a serious illness.

Luckily, preventing food poisoning can be easy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture  has these tips to help home chefs create safe Thanksgiving meals:

• Wash your hands often while cooking. Use soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Dry your hands on a clean paper towel, not a dirty apron or towel.
• Prevent cross-contamination. Clean surfaces as you go, including sinks and counters. Use separate cutting boards and utensils for meat and other food. That way, you won’t end up with raw turkey juice in your salad. (Blech!)
• Cook the turkey to 165 degrees. Use a food thermometer to check it’s done, and never rely on those cheap pop-up ones that come with the turkey.
• Follow the two-hour rule. If all your food hasn’t been gobbled up two hours after you’ve set it out on the table, it’s time to wrap it up and stick it in the fridge. Any leftovers that are perishable should be eaten or frozen within three to four days.

For more seasonal food prep tips, check out FoodSafety.gov.

If you have questions while cooking your turkey, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline.
Have a happy, healthy holiday!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Are you ready for a quake? Debunking the myths and sharing the facts

We know earthquakes can be scary. They’re unpredictable and can happen anywhere. But there’s good news: Preparing for earthquakes can help keep you safe.

First, let’s debunk some common earthquake myths:

MYTH: Earthquakes don’t happen where I live.
FACT: Major earthquakes happen in all regions across the country. They can happen at any time and in any place, so it’s best to be as prepared as possible.

MYTH: The best thing to do when you feel an earthquake is to stand in a door frame.
FACT: The best plan of action when you feel an earthquake is to drop, cover and hold on.
Following these steps will give you the best opportunity to stay safe.

Now that you know the facts, it’s time to prepare. Having emergency supplies is the first step. Here’s what’s best to have in your earthquake emergency kit:

1. Water: We use water for drinking, cooking and washing. Experts recommend that everyone has at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. Don’t forget your pets!

2. Food: Having shelf-stable foods — like canned goods, peanut butter and dried fruit — means they will keep longer, even without power. Healthy food in your supply can give you energy if you are asked to evacuate.

3. Small hygiene kit : Staying clean with hand sanitizer and wipes can help prevent the spread of germs.

4. First-aid kit: This is an essential! You can find small first-aid kits at many stores. If you’d like to create your own, add in gauze, bandages, antiseptic wipes and pain medication, as well as items for special needs you may have.

5. Flashlight + batteries: Earthquakes can be damaging. Losing power is common. Having a reliable flashlight with extra batteries can be helpful when it’s dark.

6. Portable cellphone charger: Your phone can be incredibly helpful for contacting emergency services, family members or even using the GPS functions if you are lost. You may not have access to a power outlet, so having a portable or solar charger is key.

Knowledge and preparedness are the best ways to prevent injury in disaster situations. Make sure you and your household have discussed earthquake safety procedures.

Help spread the word about earthquake safety by downloading and printing our Get Ready fact sheet, which is available in English or Spanish.You can even add your own logo!