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Kids: Safe or sick? Myth vs. Fact

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For National Food Safety Education month in September, the Partnership for Food Safety Education, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, helps parents get the facts behind some common myths about things kids do and eat with Kids’ Home Food Safety Mythbusters:

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Myth: Only kids eat raw cookie dough and cake batter. If we just keep kids away from the raw products when adults are baking, there won’t be a problem.

Fact: Just a lick can make you sick. No one of any age should eat raw cookie dough or cake batter because it could contain germs that cause illness.

Whether it’s pre-packaged or homemade, the heat from baking is required to kill germs that might be in the raw ingredients.

Myth: When kids cook, it is usually “heat and eat” snacks and foods in the microwave. They don’t have to worry about food safety. The microwaves kill the germs.

Fact:Microwaves aren’t magic. It’s the heat the microwaves generate that kills the germs. Food cooked in a microwave needs to be heated to a safe internal temperature.

Kids can use microwaves properly by carefully following package instructions.

Myth: When kids wash their hands, just putting their hands under running water is enough to get the germs off.

Fact:Rubbing hands with water and soap is the best way to go. Water is just part of what you need for clean hands. Washing hands properly is a great way to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

Myth: My kids only eat pre-packaged fruits and veggies for snacks because those snacks don’t need to be washed before they eat them.

Fact:Giving your kids healthy snacks is a big plus for them, but just because produce is wrapped, it doesn’t always mean it’s ready to eat.

Read the label of your product to make sure it says “ready-to-eat,” “washed,” or “triple washed.” If it does, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, wash your hands and then rinse the fruits or vegetables under running tap water.

The Partnership has made free, downloadable materials for educators and consumers available as part of Kids’ Home Food Safety Mythbusters.

A flyer with all of the myths, a PowerPoint Presentation, and other consumer friendly tools can be found at www.fightbac.org/campaigns/mythbusters.

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