The Washington State Department of Health protects the health of people in our state with a variety of programs and services to help prevent illness and injury, promote healthy places to live and work, provide information to help people make good health decisions and ensure our state is prepared for emergencies.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) provides several ways for consumers to find information about foodborne illness, safe food handling, storage, and preparation. Food poisoning or foodborne illness can affect anyone who eats food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, or other substances.
Certain groups of people are more susceptible to foodborne illness. This means that they are more likely to get sick from contaminated food and, if they do get sick, the effects are much more serious. Some of these groups of people include:
- Cancer Patients
- Children under Five Years of Age
- Diabetes Patients
- HIV/AIDS Patients
- Older Adults
- Persons with Autoimmune Diseases
- Pregnant Women
By following basic rules of food safety, you can help prevent foodborne illness for yourself and others. Here is a list of downloadable, free food safety fact sheets for grilling and other summer activities with food. The information will help you prevent food poisoning while having delicious fun this summer.
USDA reminds you to Check Your Steps
Each year, one in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning. The Food Safe Families campaign, a cooperative effort of USDA, FDA, CDC, and the Ad Council, urges you to Check Your Steps! By following four simple steps, you can help keep your family safe from food poisoning at home: (1) Clean, (2) Separate, (3) Cook, (4) Chill.
FoodSafety.gov is the gateway to food safety information provided by U.S. government agencies. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) serve important roles in ensuring food safety in the United States. During an investigation of foodborne illness or a recall, federal government agencies may work with state agencies such as the state department of public health.
USDA Ask Karen App
Want to know how long you can safely keep meat in the refrigerator? Or how long to boil an egg? How about whether it’s better to use wooden or plastic cutting boards?
Just ask Karen, your guide to expert knowledge on handling and storing food safely and preventing food poisoning.
Ask Karen (En Español) is USDA’s 24/7 virtual representative and can be accessed from your desktop or laptop computer. ‘Karen’ has a wealth of tips and useful information to help you shop for, prepare, and store food safely, and how to prevent foodborne illness. The Ask Karen mobile app can also be downloaded from the iTunes and Google Play app stores.
USDA FoodKeeper App: Your Tool for Smart Food Storage
The FoodKeeper App helps you understand food storage by listing recommended storage times for many types of foods and beverages. By properly storing foods, you will be able to keep items fresh longer than if they were not stored properly. The FoodKeeper App was developed by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, along with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute.
- Using and referring to the FoodKeeper App will help you use food while at peak quality. The basic rule is to buy foods in reasonable quantities and regularly rotate the products in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.
- The FoodKeeper also helps you avoid food waste. Every year, billions of pounds of good food go to waste in the U.S. because consumers are not sure of its quality or safety. Reduce food waste by not buying too much food at one time, preparing and storing foods properly, and cooking only what is needed. Practicing these steps helps save money, as well as reduce the amount of food going to waste in landfills.