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OHIO DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ENCOURAGES CONSUMERS TO FOLLOW FOOD SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

 COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- In light of the recent foodborne illness outbreak in the Pacific Northwest and other western states, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) reminds all consumers to follow proper food handling and adequate cooking procedures.
 The E.COLI 0157:H7 bacteria, which has been linked to illnesses and deaths in the western U.S., can be found in virtually all foods and water. However, proper food handling and adequate cooking temperatures will terminate this bacteria if it is present.
 It is important to remember the United States still maintains the safest food supply in the world. Only the nuclear industry is more regulated than the meat industry. Currently there are many controls in place to help ensure a wholesome and safe food supply. Federal and state inspectors closely examine livestock from the time it enters the slaughter facility, until the product leaves the facility. At the local level, city and county officials make regular inspections of eating establishments to help ensure food is properly handled and cooked.
 "When it comes to food safety, the beef industry has an excellent record," said Fred L. Dailey, ODA director. "It's important for everyone to remember, no matter what food product is being consumed, it must be handled in the proper way to prevent food illnesses," said Dailey. For that reason it is important to follow proper food handling procedures:
 -- Cook ground beef burgers to an internal temperature of at least 155 degrees F. and if you do not have a proper thermometer cook until the juices run clear.
 -- Be sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
 -- Keep the working area and utensils in the kitchen clean.
 -- Wash hands well with hot soapy water before and after handling meat.
 -- Avoid cross-contamination of raw foods with cooked foods.
 For more information on food safety call ODA's Food Safety Line at 800-282-1955 or Ohio State University's Food Safety Hotline at 800-752-2751.
 -0- 1/29/93
 /CONTACT: Kim Norris, communications director, Ohio Department of Agriculture, 614-752-4505/


CO: Ohio Department of Agriculture ST: Ohio IN: SU:

BM -- CL011 -- 0917 01/29/93 16:22 EST
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Date:Jan 29, 1993
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