National Health Education Week will kick off October 19. This year, the Society for Public Health Education has chosen to focus on food safety with the theme, “Let’s Dish: Food Safety at the Table.” A toolkit for public health educators is available on the Society for Public Health Education Website. The toolkit includes information on how to get a public health message out to target audiences, such as students, parents, college students, at-risk populations, and health fair attendees. In addition, the toolkit suggests key messages for public health educators to use in promoting National Health Education Week:
- Hand washing is the number one way to prevent foodborne illness.
- Certain populations (children, elderly, pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals) are at increased risk for contracting foodborne illness.
- The incidence of foodborne illness is greater today than 20 years ago due to new pathogens, more people eating outside of the home, and a globalized food supply.
- Everyone should know and practice the four food safety guidelines: clean, separate, cook, chill
Handouts and fact sheets available in the toolkit offer information for both public health educators and individuals. Among the topics addressed are food safety myths: Myth 1: Lemon juice and salt will clean and sanitize a cutting board Myth 2: Putting chicken in a colander and rinsing it with water will remove bacteria like Salmonella. Myth 3: Once a hamburger turns brown in the middle, it is fully cooked. Myth 4: If you become ill from eating contaminated food, it is the last food you ate that made you sick. Myth 5: You should not put hot food in the refrigerator. The Society for Public Health Education will feature a free Webinar on preventing foodborne illness. The webinar will feature national authorities on minimizing food safety risks, efforts of government and food producers to keep food safe, and special precautions for high-risk populations. It will take place Oct. 20 from 2-3:30pm ET. Registration is available on the Society for Public Health Education Website.