Food Safety Basics & Helpful Links

The food supply in America is among the safest in the world. However, when certain disease-causing bacteria contaminate food or beverage they can cause a food borne illness, often called "food poisoning." The federal government (CDC) estimates that there are about 48 million cases of food borne illness each year. That's roughly 1 in 6 Americans getting sick each year from foods or beverages. Of these illnesses an estimated 128,000 persons will enter the hospital and 3,000 will die. Clearly forgetting about food safety or ignoring established food safety guidelines is a recipe for disaster.

Food & Drug Acts

Food safety has been recognized by governmental agencies for well over a century. The first true regulations established in America to address food safety came in 1906 with the passing of the Pure Food and Drug Act. The regulations were amended (made more stringent) in 1937 when the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act was passed.

United States Food Code

North Carolina rules and regulations require that for the protection of public health, establishments that prepare or serve drink or food for pay and those establishments that prepare and sell meat food products or poultry products shall abide by strict laws that govern their operations. These rules are based, in large part, on the U.S. Food Code. The intent of this Code "is to safeguard public health and provide to consumers food that is safe, unadulterated and honestly presented."

Food safety does not end at the restaurant or grocery store. Practicing food safety in the home is an important step to preventing foodborne illness. Following guidance offered by local, state and federal agencies can go a long way in helping everyone avoid a foodborne illness.