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September is Food Safety Month

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Serve food safely.

Hundreds of Pierce County residents get sick from food every year. Following a few simple steps can help stop foodborne illness, keeping you and your family healthy:

  • Clean—Wash hands and clean surfaces often.
  • Separate—Use separate cutting boards and plates for produce, meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs; keep these foods separate in grocery bags and refrigerators.
  • Cook—Use a meat thermometer to ensure food is heated to high enough temperatures to kill bacteria (e.g., beef burger at 160°F, chicken breast at 165°F, fish at 145°F).
  • Chill—Refrigerate food promptly. Store foods at or below 40°F to keep bacteria from growing.

If you are sick, don't prepare food for your family. The same goes for people who work with food—stay home if you feel ill.

Don't hook up with foodborne illness.

Last September, we introduced GermDate—a fun, fictitious way to learn more about the germs behind common foodborne illnesses. Here's a look at last year's profiles:

@lick_the_spoon Salmonella Bacteria Height: 0.003 m Location: Alfalfa sprouts on the deli sandwich. About me: I’m a bit of a nomad. I’ve lived everywhere:  eggs, melons, sprouts, lizards, frogs, chickens and even in some humans. My philosophy: Live life to the fullest! Eat raw cookie dough. Pet animals and don’t bother washing your hands. Enjoy undercooked meat. Listen to your gut! You’ll have to when the diarrhea, vomiting, cramps and fever start. #YOLO

How to block Salmonella:

  • Cook meat and eggs thoroughly.
  • Don't eat raw eggs or drink raw milk.
  • Don't cross-contaminate surfaces or utensils when working with raw meat.
  • Wash hands with soap after handling raw meat or eggs and after touching reptiles and birds.

@ick_E_coli E. coli Location: Cut lettuce in the salad bar. Likes: Dirty produce. Undercooked meat. Temperatures between 41°-135°. Dislikes: Soap. Meat thermometers. Refrigerators. My ideal Friday night: We’ll start with bloody diarrhea and if that goes well, maybe move on to kidney failure.

How to block E. coli:

  • Cook meats thoroughly and check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.
  • Wash hands with soap after handling raw meat.
  • Don’t’ cross-contaminate hands, utensils or surfaces when cooking raw meat.
  • Avoid raw milk.

norotorious I want to infect everybody!  I love people who go to work sick. I get to  infect so many more people. I’m really tough! Cleaners without bleach don’t affect me. I spent two weeks on a cutting board and was still able to cause vomiting, diarrhea and fever in 14 diners!

How to block norovirus:

  • Stay home and don't work with food if you're sick.
  • Wash hands with soap frequently.
  • Disinfect surfaces with bleach.
  • Wash and dry contaminated clothing on high heat.

buffet_luvr I’m  looking for someone to grow in. I don’t need anything fancy like vomiting or fever. Just let me cause cramps and diarrhea and I’ll be happy. OMG! I am all about spa days! I’m always up for a soak in gravy, casserole or stew! I hate it when it’s too hot though. 135° or lower please!

How to block C. perfringens:

  • Keep food—especially dishes containing meats gravy or cooked vegetables—at temperatures above 135° F.
  • Cool food rapidly to below 40° F.

happy_campy I’m a country guy at heart. I grew up in a chicken on a farm and hitched a ride in some raw milk. Message me if: You’re a big chicken fan. You don’t own a meat thermometer. You’re looking for bloody diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, or fever. No pasteurization please.

How to block C. jejuni:

  • Cook poultry to an internal temperature of 165° F.
  • Wash hands with soap after handling raw poultry.
  • Don’t cross-contaminate utensils or surfaces when working with raw poultry.
  • Avoid raw milk.

 @fine_foodie Height: 6’1” Location: In the kitchen. About me: I’m a cook who wants to make delicious meals for that special someone.  As hot as a steam table and as cool as a walk-in fridge.  I have all the flair of #saltbae but unlike him, I wear gloves.

How to match with a healthy food worker:

  • If you have vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing or jaundice, don’t work with food until your symptoms are gone for 24 hours.
  • Don’t work with food if you have uncovered, infected wounds.
  • Tell your supervisor if you’re sick.

fahren_hot I’m a sensitive guy. I’m always there for you when you reach for me.  I wear my heart on my sleeve. There’s no guessing what I’m feeling. It’s written on my face. When I run out of energy it’s really easy to replace my batteries. I’m a great judge of character, or at least doneness.

How to match with a food thermometer:

  • Cook meats to a safe temperature and check with a thermometer. You can’t tell if food is a safe temperature by looking at it.
  • Keep hot food at 135° F or higher.
  • Keep cold food at 41° F or lower.

bubbles_not_troubles I actually like doing dishes and will always help. I make creepy germs go away. I smell nice. Life is all about getting dirty then cleaning up after.  Message me if: You like to be adventurous but safe at the same time. You’ll want me to come along on your culinary adventures!

How to match with handsoap:

  • Wash your hands before working with food and before eating.
  • Always use soap when washing your hands.
  • Lather your hands for 20 seconds.


Get all the updates!

This September, we'll be checking back in to see what they've been up to.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to take a peek at each mischievous microbe's likes and dislikes through their online dating profiles. You can also learn how to block the bad news bachelors and find yourself a much less stomach-turning match.