In a nutshell… This article examines public trust and factors affecting consumer confidence in the quality and safety of drinking water provided by community water systems. It highlights the results of a recently completed national survey of 2,200 U.S. adults by the American Water Works Association. Most Americans enjoy year-round access to safe drinking
In a nutshell… Food safety remains a significant public health issue in the U.S. during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Recommendations for avoiding foodborne illness include the traditional “clean, separate, cook, and chill” messages as well as common sense adaptations based on the “new normal” of life during the coronavirus pandemic. With a Cyclospora recall
In a nutshell… To keep household sewage flowing away from our homes for safe treatment and disposal, it is important to “flush wisely.” This article discusses why you should not flush foreign objects such as disinfectant wipes—even if advertised as safe to flush (they’re not). Photo credit: City of Portland, OR As cases of
In a nutshell… Disinfecting destroys pathogens, including the coronavirus (COVID-19 virus), on surfaces. One important and frequently overlooked aspect of disinfecting surfaces is allowing sufficient time for the disinfecting product to be in contact with the surface (contact time). This article focuses on the role of time in applying surface disinfectants. As businesses and
As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, household chlorine bleach—a mainstay of household disinfection—has become a sought-after commodity. We recently worked with several public health experts to develop a user-friendly poster on how to prepare a solution of bleach and water for disinfecting surfaces against the COVID-19 virus. But the question arises: Without an expiration date on the bleach jug, how do you know when bleach expires and that a solution made with it will be effective?
In a nutshell… This article introduces a user-friendly poster featuring directions for preparing a solution of chlorine bleach and water to disinfect frequently touched surfaces against the coronavirus (COVID-19 virus). The poster may be freely downloaded. Directions given are recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An image of the
In a nutshell… A survey conducted by the Water Quality & Health Council found consumers fear getting sick from their holiday hosts’ poor kitchen hygiene. Survey statistics confirm unsafe food practices, but also that most people follow recipes. Research shows when food safety tips are included in recipes, safe food handling improves. Holidays and
Childcare environments are notorious for spreading infections. Parents can teach children to wash their hands, cover coughs and sneezes (with a tissue or their elbows, not their hands), and keep hands out of their mouths and eyes to help prevent them from getting or spreading an infectious illness. (See, for example, this CDC cartoon video.) Unfortunately, these lessons cannot be taught to babies and very young toddlers.
Although the U.S. food supply is generally considered to be safe, foodborne illnesses continue to take a toll in our country. Nearly every month we hear of a food-related illness outbreak or recall, prompting a mental check of whether we might have purchased the offending product, consumed it, or stored it in our kitchens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Outbreak Reporting System, in the 17-year period from 2000 to 2017, over 18,000 foodborne outbreaks were reported, involving more than 350,000 cases (approximately one per 1,000 people in the U.S.) of illness, over 15,000 hospitalizations, and nearly 350 deaths from consuming unsafe foods. Moreover, these numbers likely underreport the actual U.S. statistics as CDC estimates that each year, 48 million people experience foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.
I enjoy cooking, and I have several dog-eared cookbooks and food-stained index cards featuring the recipes for many of my family’s favorite dishes. I also enjoy trying out recipes I find in magazines, newspapers, or online. Recipes are an indispensable tool for cooks, helping us perform the “kitchen chemistry” that transforms ingredients into delicious, “table-ready” meals. But implicit in most recipes is the notion that cooks know how to handle raw products, including produce, poultry, fish, and meat, safely. Based on data on foodborne illness outbreaks from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of us may not actually be that savvy about food safety.