by Char Brooks, Project Healthy Living Coach and Attorney
As you may have read, September is Hunger Action Month. Hunger Action Month was created to bring awareness to the countless people who are starving and how we can do our part to eliminate hunger.
Seniors are particularly vulnerable to not having enough to eat. A recent study found that seniors often have enough money to buy food, but due to other issues including lack of transportation or health problems, they may not have a way to get or prepare food.
September is also National Food Safety Education Month. Hunger Action Month and National Food Safety Education Month go well together because we need food as well as its safe preparation and storage to make sure that hunger is addressed properly.
One of the recommendations of Feeding America, a group designed to raise awareness about hunger issues, is to rotate inventory in a food pantry by using food that is already on hand first rather than newer stock. The purpose of the “first in first out” rule is to prevent putting anyone’s health or wellbeing at risk by using potentially expired food.
Feeding America also suggests that when in doubt about whether your food is safe, it is best to get rid of it. Obviously, it’s important to be aware of whether the food you’re eating or serving is safe to avoid illness.
All of the ideas mentioned above are good practices to use, regardless of where you get your food from. Here are some other ways you can be sure that your food is prepared safely:
- Wash your hands often. Sing the ABC’s in your head and scrub your hands, fingers, and underneath your nails using warm soapy water.
- Wash your counters, cabinet knobs, and refrigerator handles before and after you prepare food to prevent contamination
- Do not leave newspapers, your purse, briefcase, or mail on your kitchen counter. They can spread harmful bacteria.
- Do not use chipped plates and china as they can collect bacteria.
- Wash all towels and dishcloths in hot water. Make sure they are completely dry before storing or using them again. Damp material is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
- Clean up spills that happen in the microwave as they occur to prevent the collection of bacteria.
- Get rid of cutting boards that are cracked or have deep knife slash marks in them. These are places for bacteria to gather.
Enjoying food is a privilege that is often out of reach for those who are struggling with hunger issues. Hunger Action Month hopes to raise awareness of this crucial situation and solve hunger. Adequate food for all along with safe preparation and storage practices are essential to be sure this issue is appropriately addressed.
Celebrate Food Safety Education Month with a Clean Kitchen
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: National Food Safety Education Month
Char Brooks is a Project Healthy Living Coach and attorney at Elder Law of Michigan. She has been a member of the Elder Law team since mid 2013. Char holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Michigan State University, and graduated with her Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School over 30 years ago. As a Project Healthy Living Coach at Elder Law, Char facilitat
es classes for seniors and offers one on one coaching sessions to Michigan seniors to help them improve the quality of their lives.