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Monday, September 22, 2014

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When to Say When: Is it Safe to Eat?

By Kim Droze & Vanessa Rush
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"When in doubt, throw it out…"

If that's the extent of your knowledge when it comes to food safety, then it's about time you get educated.

With an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths annually, foodborne illness is something to take very seriously. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that up to 48 million people are sickened each year when they consume food infected with bacteria, viruses or parasites.

Obviously, food safety is no joke, whether you're home preparing a meal for your family, picking up takeout or grabbing a doggie bag at a restaurant.  You can reduce your risk of infection, regardless of who prepared your food and where you ate it, by taking a few precautions.

"Almost half – 45 to 50 percent – of foodborne illness occurs in foods prepared in the home. Restaurants, markets and even produce are responsible for the rest. In fact, up to 20 percent of foodborne illnesses are related to produce," food safety expert Jeff Nelken, said. "Foods such as cantaloupe, spinach and peanuts are responsible for many cases of contamination."

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