CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Whether you’re sending your child back to in-person classes with a packed lunch or staying home with them while they learn from a distance, chances are your cooking more.
The USDA is offering some helpful tips to keep your family safe from food-borne illnesses like food poisoning. It's as easy as adding just a few essential items to your shopping list.
The government agency says food-borne illnesses lead to more than 128,000 hospitalizations and more than 3,000 deaths a year.
As parents juggle work and having their kids learn from home, families don’t want to add food poisoning to their list of concerns.
USDA information specialist Chrystal Okunta shared some helpful tips that the whole family can follow to avoid these kinds of illnesses.
“The number one food safety tip is the same for wherever you are going to be preparing a lunch or eating a lunch is starting with clean hands," she said. "Hand washing is so important because not only can it stop the spread of food-borne illnesses but also tons of other illnesses as well.”
"If you are going to do any cut fruits or vegetables and things like that make sure you are using a separate cutting board for those fruits and vegetables and don’t cross contaminate with any meat or poultry products you really want to keep that separate,” Okunta added.
Other additional safety tips that you can follow at home consists of washing your hands with soap and water before you cook and eat. A bleach-based solution can be used to sanitize surfaces and utensils.
Do not cross contaminate those cleaning products with your food and keep them separate. Use a food thermometer to know when foods are safely cooked. Use insulated containers to keep food that should be served hot, safe.
For more information on any food recalls and more food safety tips, download an app specifically made by the USDA called the food keeper app here.