Parenting Connection: Keeping kids away from foodborne illnesses

Parenting Connection

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: Keeping kids away from foodborne illnesses.

A recent report by the Partnership for Food Safety Education shows 50% of the people who get food poisoning each year are children under 15 years of age. Now add that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider children under the age of five as high risk for foodborne poisoning because their immune systems are still developing, and you can see why safe food handling should be a priority.

Health officials say kids have a greater risk of having a more serious reaction and developing long-term complications from a foodborne illness. For example, children get dehydrated quicker as a result of vomiting and diarrhea, and according to officials with MSU’s extension office, some strains of E. Coli can lead to a serious condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS, which can lead to kidney failure or even death.

The cool thing is, keeping food safe for consumption isn’t difficult to do. According to the MSU Extension office, there are four core food safety practices to follow which can minimize the risk of foodborne illness and here they are:

*Clean your hands, countertops, and produce you plan to eat.

*Separate your food when preparing a meal. Foodborne pathogens can be easily transferred through cross-contamination from raw meats and eggs to ready-to-eat foods through surfaces or even our hands…. so, for example, use a different cutting board for raw meat and another for fresh produce.

*Cook your food properly. Safety officials say it’s important to cook food to the proper minimum internal temperature by using a calibrated food thermometer.

*Chill correctly. You must keep food out of the temperature danger zone, so refrigerate food at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below as soon as you can.

Think about this, according to a USDA study, people are not properly washing their hands before preparing meals 97% of the time. Seems like an easy step you can start today that can avoid your kids from getting unnecessarily sick.

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