The little device that prevents foodborne illness

Most people have a food thermometer but they rarely use it.
2/9/2015

Food makers, grocers and government are only partly responsible for making sure food is safe to eat.

Consumers must also do their part. One tool that should help them is a handy inexpensive gadget found at their local supermarket: the thermometer.

“Two of the four consumer steps toward food safety–clean, separate, cook and chill–rely on temperature control,” points out Food Safety News writer Lydia Zuraw in a recent article.

But thermometers aren’t used enough at home to make sure meat has reached a high enough temperature to kill salmonella, Listeria and other pathogens that cause foodborne illnesses.

According to a study published by RTI International and two universities, 62 per cent of consumers own a food thermometer but less than 10 per cent use one to check whether poultry is cooked enough. Most simply look at the colour of the meat to see if it’s done.

Another study found that only 21 per cent of consumers check their refrigerator’s temperature to make sure it’s keeping food cold enough, even though Christina Bruhn, the retired director of the Center for Consumer Research at the University of California, says she’s found that 13 per cent of fridges are too warm.

Whether it’s keeping food cold, or heating it up, the lesson is simple, writes Zuraw: “Use the thermometer!”

Read the full story here.

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