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Health Department focuses on food safety for people with HIV/AIDS

In recognition of National Food Safety Education Month, the Health Department is participating by focusing attention on the importance of properly preparing and storing food for people with compromised immune systems.

People with HIV/AIDS are at higher risk for severe illnesses and death caused by microorganisms found in food not properly prepared or stored. While proper food safety is important for everyone, it could be the difference between life and death for those with an already suppressed immune system.

The following recommendations are designed to help prevent bacterial foodborne illness:
Transport perishable foods home from the store immediately and refrigerate or freeze.
Do not purchase food in cans that are dented, leaking, or bulging; food in cracked glass jars; or food in torn packaging.
Wash hands, utensils, can openers, cutting boards and countertops in hot, soapy water before and after coming in contact with raw meat, poultry or fish. Wash kitchen towels and cloths often in hot water in a washing machine.
Do not eat raw or undercooked meat, poultry, fish or eggs. Use a meat thermometer to be sure meat, fish, eggs and casseroles reach at least 160°F. Roast whole poultry to 180°F; poultry breasts to 170°F.
When dining at a restaurant, meat, poultry and fish should be ordered well done. If it arrives undercooked, it should be sent back.
Refrigerate leftovers at 40°F or below, or freeze (0°F) as soon as possible, but never leave food out more than two hours. Bacteria begin to multiply rapidly in the “danger zone” between 40°F (recommended refrigerator temperature) and 140°F.

For more information about food safety for people with HIV/AIDS or food safety training, call the Health Department’s Food Protection Program, (816) 513-6008.

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