Food Safety Booklets to Assist Consumer Awareness

On August 1, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently collaborated to create six booklets with food safety advice for populations that are most susceptible to foodborne illness. The booklets in the “at-risk series” are tailored to help older adults, transplant recipients, pregnant women, and people with cancer, diabetes or HIV/AIDS reduce their risk for foodborne illness.

The booklets contain information on practical ways to avoid and prevent foodborne illnesses via charts, illustrated how-tos, and descriptions of why each group referenced is at a higher risk for foodborne illness. Tear-out cards with quick-reference tips for grocery shopping, cooking, and eating at restaurants are also included in the books for portability.

Previously produced in 2006 on five of the “at-risk” groups, the two agencies created a sixth booklet for pregnant women, who are at particular risk for the illness listeriosis. The six new booklets also list food safety resources that have been made available since the earlier copies were printed. Revised safe cooking temperatures for meat and poultry were also discussed:

  • 145 °F for whole cuts of meat, followed by a three-minute rest time;
  • 160 °F for ground meats;
  • and 165 °F for all poultry and leftovers.

The booklets are another aspect to support the three core principles developed by the President’s Food Safety Working Group: prioritizing prevention; strengthening surveillance and enforcement; and improving response and recovery.  Both agencies mailed copies of the booklets to physicians around the country who treat patients in any of these six categories, and the booklets are available to the public free of charge. Additionally, the booklets are downloadable in PDF format.