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Keeping Up with Food Safety Alerts

By Donna Moodie, RD CDN CDE

On any given week, we are bombarded with media stories about the latest food safety alerts and food-borne illnesses. We then have to locate the brand, lot numbers, etc., and search our pantries, freezers and refrigerators for these food items so that we do not get sick. Food-borne illness can be a serious matter.

According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), about 1 in 6 Americans will get food poisoning in a year. Most people recover, but some suffer long-term effects such as liver and kidney failure, brain and nerve damage, chronic arthritis, or even death. Pregnant women, older adults, children, and people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and autoimmune diseases have a greater risk for contracting a food-borne illness and then having to deal with the long-term effects.

The FDA has a great chart for reference: Food Borne Illnesses: What Your Need to Know. Click on the link below to read and/or print. This chart provides a list of the most common food-borne illnesses, symptoms, type of bacteria or toxin, and which foods these illnesses usually come from.

Things to do to prevent food-borne illness:

  • Wash your hands before and after meals, and after using the bathroom.
  • Keep counter tops clean and sanitized.
  • Cook foods to correct temperatures.
  • Avoid raw and undercooked meats and fish.
  • Avoid raw milk and cheeses that are unpasteurized.
  • Chill leftovers quickly. Don’t leave food sitting out for too long.
  • Store foods and beverages properly.
  • Visit the FDA website regularly for food safety updates at:
  • Download the “Food Keeper” app which was created by Cornell University, the USDA, and the Food Marketing Institute. This app gives food storage advice for different types of food.

This article was not meant to take the place of medical advice. If you feel sick or have a problem, contact your doctor or healthcare professional.


Donna Moodie is a Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Family Health and Wellness Program. She can be reached at


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