Foodborne Illnesses on the rise - WRBL

Foodborne Illnesses on the rise

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

There have been almost 1,500 reports of foodborne illnesses linked to outbreaks across the United States. This data is featured in a new report out Thursday. These illnesses are on the rise across the U.S.

There's always food preparation before you sit down for dinner around the holidays. Stacy Varner, executive chef at Columbus Regional, said when preparing meals you should watch out for cross contamination.

"You always want to keep your raw separate from your ready to use products or already cooked," said Varner.

She said if you are cooking turkey especially if you are going to use stuffing inside, there are some things you need to know.

"If you stuff the bird, you want to make sure the stuffing is cold and that it's not freshly hot and then you stick it in the center because then it's going to add an abnormal temperature to the raw bird," said Varner.

She said when you're checking the temperature, make sure both the turkey and the stuffing get to 165 degrees. Along with cooking food to the proper temperature, Varner said hand washing is of the number one ways to prevent foodborne illnesses.

"If you can get yourself some of the gloves that we use here, I would recommend that you do that. Particularly when you're handling raw poultry because a lot of people don't get under their nails clean and then they're going to work with the cranberry sauce or something else and you're liable to cross contaminate again," said Varner.

When using fruits in meals, you should always wash the skin. When you cut into the fruit you could carry the bacteria inside if you don't wash the outside.

You can find the full report at http://www.georgiapirgedfund.org/sites/pirg/files/reports/FoodSafetyScaresReport2013%20Final-1.pdf.

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