Food Safety Guides Available for Groups Most Vulnerable to Foodborne Illness

The booklets are designed to help those with compromised immune systems

Deciding what to eat can be challenging enough if you're healthy. If you're not, it's even tougher. But now, help is available.

The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have partnered to create six booklets with food safety advice for populations that are most susceptible to foodborne illness. 

The booklets in this "at-risk series" are tailored to help older adults, transplant recipients, pregnant women, and people with cancer, diabetes or HIV/AIDS reduce their risk for foodborne illness. 

"These booklets are a much needed resource for consumers who are at increased risk of getting sick from food," said USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen. "The clear, understandable information in these booklets will help at-risk individuals feel confident about the safety of foods they prepare and eat. The booklets are also helpful to physicians and other health care providers for educating their at-risk patients about foodborne illnesses." 

Practical guidance 

Each of the booklets contains 24 pages of practical guidance on how to prevent foodborne illness. The information is presented in easy-to-read charts, illustrated how-tos, and straightforward descriptions of why each group is at higher risk for foodborne illness and symptoms that may mean trouble. 

The booklets contain three tear-out cards with quick-reference tips for grocery shopping, cooking to the right temperature, and eating at restaurants for times when taking along the entire booklet would be impractical. 

"Everyone from farmers to food manufacturers to food preparers in the home has a role in food safety," said FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor. "It is important that consumers, particularly those who are at higher risk of foodborne illness, have information they can use to do their part in preventing illness by properly selecting and preparing foods." 

While booklets on five of these topics were previously produced in 2006, the two agencies this year created a sixth booklet for pregnant women, who are at particular risk for the illness listeriosis. The six new booklets list food safety resources that have been made available since the earlier copies were printed. They also include revised safe cooking temperatures for meat and poultry: 145 °F for whole cuts of meat, followed by a three-minute rest time; 160 °F for ground meats; and 165 °F for all poultry and leftovers. 

Booklets available 

FSIS and FDA have mailed copies of the booklets to physicians around the country who treat patients in any of these six categories, and the booklets are available to the public free of charge. Additionally, the booklets are downloadable in PDF format here.

To order booklets for your home, office, or organization, call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) weekdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET, or email requests to fsis.outreach@usda.gov.

Story provided by ConsumerAffairs.
Consumer Affairs

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