September is National Food Safety Education Month!

September is National Food Safety Education Month, which seeks to heighten awareness about the importance of food safety education, including proper food handling procedures, and other food safety topics. Many members from unions who endorse FOA work in the food service profession in schools, hospitals, universities, and other institutions across the state and take great pride in providing nutritious, delicious and safely prepared meals to their students, patients and customers.

While the American food supply is among the safest in the world, the Federal government estimates that there are about 48 million cases of foodborne illness annually – that’s 1 in 6 Americans each year. Each year these illnesses result in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths, according to the FDA. Follow these tips on how to protect yourself from foodborne illnesses and contaminants:

• Buy Right. When it comes to buying produce, make sure you are making wise decisions at the grocery store. Purchase produce that has not been bruised or damaged. When selecting pre-cut produce, only choose those items that are refrigerated or surrounded by ice. Bag fresh fruits and vegetables separately from meats.
• Store Your Vegetables Properly. Store fruits and veggies in a clean refrigerator at 40⁰F or below. Use a fridge thermometer – these are usually built in.
• Separate For Safety. Keep fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat.
• Prepare Safely.Wash cutting boards, dishes, knives and other utensils and countertops after handling raw meat products.
• Use separate cutting boards for raw meat and raw vegetables.
• Cut away damaged areas of the fruits or veggies before preparing/eating.
• Wash all produce thoroughly under running water before cutting/cooking.
• Avoid Overpacking The Fridge. Cold air needs to circulate around the refrigerated foods.
• Check Expiration Dates on Foods. Discard any food that is past its “use by” date. “When in doubt, throw it out.”
• Clean the Fridge Frequently. Clean the fridge at least once a month and always clean up any spills immediately after they occur.
• Store Leftovers Immediately. The longer the food sits on the counter, the more rapidly bacteria will grow. Perishable food left out for more than 2 hours allows bacteria to multiply quickly.
• Thaw With Care.Because bacteria can multiply so rapidly in unrefrigerated foods, it is unsafe to allow food to thaw at room temperature. Some organisms can create toxins that can survive the cooking process.
• Three ways to thaw safely: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave.
• If you thaw in the fridge, change the water every half hour to make sure it stays cold.
• Pack Food Safely for a Picnic.As the weather heats up, picnics and barbecues are making their way onto our calendars. But these warm events present opportunities for foodborne bacteria to thrive. Here are some safe food handling tips:
• Keep Cold Food Cold. Place cold food in a cooler with ice or frozen packs.
• Organize Cooler Contents. Pack perishable foods in one container and beverages in another. Pack raw meats separately from vegetables or prepared foods.
• Keep Coolers Closed. This will help keep the cooler at a safe temperature.
• Clean Produce Before You Leave The House. Rinse fresh fruits and veggies prior to packing your basket.
• Follow Safe Grilling Tips:
• Steaks, fish and pork should be at 145⁰F.
• Ground beef and egg dishes should be at 160⁰F.
• Chicken breasts and whole poultry should be at 165⁰F.
• Shrimp, lobster and crab should be cooked until pearly and opaque.
• Clams, oysters and mussels should be cooked until their shells open. Discard any that do not open.

Contact us 24/7 for a free case appraisal. To get more safety tips on how to prevent foodborne illnesses and contaminants, visit: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/default.htm

Dear Friends and Clients,

Our firm is dedicated to act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues. As such, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also ensuring the health and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, most from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for the country we live in, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance and representation from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Marvin Anderman and the firm family of Fine, Olin & Anderman, LLP