Summer Cookouts Require Extra Attention To Food Safety

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Newton urges all Iowans to practice safe food handling practices to ensure that this summer is a healthy one.

For many Iowans, Memorial Day marks the beginning of grilling season. For public health workers, this time of year also means the beginning of an increase in foodborne illnesses.

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"An important role of public health is knowing when and how certain illnesses are likely to occur and then educating the public so people don't get sick," said Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director, Tom Newton, MPP, REHS. "We know foodborne diseases increase in Iowa as people start to barbeque."

Last year, IDPH reported 80 percent more cases of E. coli O157:H7 between May and September than other months of the year. During the same time period, there were 68 percent more cases of shigellosis, 63 percent more cases of campylobacteriosis, and 35 percent more cases of salmonellosis. All of these illnesses can be caused by food that has been improperly handled or prepared.

Helpful tips include:

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