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Food Safety- Consumer Advice - How to protect yourself from the hazards in your food

Food Safety- Consumer Advice - How to protect yourself from the hazards in your food

Food Safety







Nutrition &
Weight Loss


Food Away
From Home


Produce &
Fruit Juice





Food & Cosmetic Talk Papers & Fact Sheets Reporting Illnesses and Product Complaints \Reporting Unlawful Sales on the Internet

Foodborne Illness

How can I prevent foodborne illness?

Are some foods more likely to cause foodborne illness than others?

How sick can I get from eating contaminated food?

What are the symptoms of foodborne illness?

Can the symptoms of foodborne illness be mistaken for the flu?

What should you do if you have a problem with a food product?

What food and drugs can cause severe side effects when taken during the same time period?

Why should older people be especially concerned about food safety?

What food safety advice is there for persons with AIDS?

What are the food safety concerns with sprouts?

Why is it important to use a cooking thermometer?

Where can I obtain more information on foodborne illness?

What are the bacteria that cause foodborne illness?

What types of food poisoning are associated with seafood?

What advice is the government giving to consumers in relation to Listeriosis?

If spores can survive cooking, freezing, and some sanitizing measures, how can spores be prevented from the start?

Do all toxins in food survive the cooking process?

If a person who was infected by Salmonella typhi begins to feel okay, does this mean he or she has stopped shedding the bacteria?

Is it true that some viruses are resistant to heat and cold? If so, what food safety precautions should consumers take?

What's the difference between viruses and bacteria?

Food Preparation

What is the first rule of safe food preparation in the home?

What is the second rule of safe food preparation in the home?

If I forget to follow some of the basic food safety rules, won't heating or reheating foods kill foodborne bacteria?

One of the food safety rules is to wash hands in hot, soapy water. Does hot water kill bacteria?

Why is it unsafe to marinate foods at room temperature? Doesn't the acid in the marinade kill any bacteria that might be present?

How often should I sanitize my kitchen sink drains and disposal?

Why shouldn't I taste a sample of cookie dough before baking it?

What is the best way to clean kitchen counters?

What is the safest way to defrost meat, poultry, and fish products?

Is a slow cooker safe?

How can I keep "take out" food safe?

How can I safely handle refrigerated ready-to-eat foods to avoid Listeriosis?

How should I select and use cutting boards?

What is the safest way to handle and prepare eggs?

Why should some people avoid eating raw oysters?

Should I wash raw meat, poultry, or seafood before cooking it?

Food Away From Home

What safety tips do you have for purchasing food through the mail?

How do you safely prepare food for bag lunches or picnics?

How do you safely prepare school lunches?

How can I clean my hands when water is not available, such as when traveling or picnicking away from home?

Food Storage

What is the proper temperature for my refrigerator?

How long can leftover food be left out of the refrigerator?

How long can you store food in a refrigerator or freezer?

What are some food storage guidelines?

What food storage tips can help prevent foodborne illness?

Will food that's stored in a freezer for a long period of time be safe to eat?

Does freezing affect the level of nutrients contained in foods?

Does "freezer burn" make food unsafe?

What is freeze-drying?

Why is salt a good food preservative?

Why can shelf-stable foods be stored on the shelf at room temperature?

How long can shelf-stable foods be safely stored on the shelf?

What food safety precautions should I take when shopping at the supermarket?

Food Labeling

How can I use the food label quickly and easily?

How should I use the %DV column on the food label?

How can I use the food label to reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol in my diet?

How can people with diabetes use the food label to help with their diets?

How can the food label help people on special diets?


How can I avoid seafood economic fraud?

How can you select safe seafood?

How can you spot a safe seafood seller?

How can you figure out if the fish is fresh?

Why should some people avoid eating raw oysters?

Which people are most at risk for foodborne illness by eating raw oysters?

Is mercury in fish a safety concern?

Why are shellfish and salads especially "friendly" to viruses?

Is it safe to eat sushi, the Japanese raw fish specialty?

Dietary Supplements

What is a dietary supplement?

Should I check with my doctor or healthcare provider before using a supplement?

What is a "new dietary ingredient" in a dietary supplement?

What is FDA's role in regulating dietary supplements versus the manufacturer's responsibility for marketing them?

When must a manufacturer or distributor notify FDA about a dietary supplement it intends to market in the U.S.?

What information must the manufacturer disclose on the label of a dietary supplement?

Must all ingredients be declared on the label of a dietary supplement?

Are dietary supplement serving sizes standardized or are there restrictions on the amount of a nutrient that can be in one serving?

Where can I get information about a specific dietary supplement?

What are some tips on searching the Web for information on dietary supplements?

Who has the responsibility for ensuring that a dietary supplement is safe?

Do manufacturers or distributors of dietary supplements have to tell FDA or consumers what evidence they have about their product's safety or what evidence they have to back up the claims they are making for them?

How can consumers inform themselves about safety and other issues related to dietary supplements?

What is FDA's oversight responsibility for dietary supplements?

Does FDA routinely analyze the content of dietary supplements?

Is it legal to market a dietary supplement product as a treatment or cure for a specific disease or condition?

Who validates claims and what kinds of claims can be made on dietary supplement labels?

Why do some supplements have wording (a disclaimer) that says: "This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease"?

How are advertisements for dietary supplements regulated?

How do I, my health care provider, or any informed individual report a problem or illness caused by a dietary supplement to FDA?



Are cosmetics safe?

What precautions should consumers follow with respect to cosmetics?

What is FDA's authority over cosmetics?

Does FDA require animal testing for cosmetics?

What are cosmeceuticals?

What are the differences between an over-the-counter (OTC) drug product and a cosmetic?

What ingredients are prohibited from use in cosmetics?

What is the shelf-life of cosmetics?

What is aromatherapy?

What precautions should you take when using eye cosmetics?

What are hypoallergenic cosmetics?

Are thigh creams safe?

Are tatoos and permanent makeup safe?

Are cosmetic products containing alpha hydroxy acids safe?

Are hair dyes safe?

What precautions should be taken if you dye your hair?

Do cosmetics cause allergies?

How do you protect children from the sun?

Why is it important to use sunscreen?

Who is most at risk of skin damage from the sun?

Is indoor tanning safe?

Why are there warning labels on bubble bath products for children?

Are nitrosamines in cosmetics a health hazard?

Produce & Fruit Juice

How can consumers reduce the risk of foodborne illness from fresh produce?

What do consumers need to know about juice safety?

What guidance does FDA have for manufacturers of canned fruits and fruit juices?

Nutrition and Weight Loss

What new Dietary Guidelines for Americans does the government have for 2000?

Can vegetables prevent cancer?

Why is fiber important to your diet?

What are tips for getting more fiber in your diet?

What are the facts about weight loss?

What are some of the questionable weight loss products?

Do diet programs work?

What are some clues to weight loss fraud?

What are sensible weight maintenance tips?

What are some tips to reduce fat and cholesterol in my diet?

What are some tips in choosing a snack?

Are there nutritional differences between fresh foods and canned foods?

Does freezing affect the level of nutrients contained in foods?

Does pasteurization affect the nutritional value or flavor of foods?

Women's Health

How can I safely handle refrigerated ready-to-eat foods to avoid Listeriosis?

Why should pregnant women avoid eating soft cheeses?

How do I avoid infection during pregnancy?

What fish should pregnant women avoid?

Are there approved recipes for homemade infant formulas?

I have seen bottled water marked for use in preparing infant formula. What does this mean?

Why should you not use homemade infant formula?

When should solid foods be added to a baby's diet?

How long should babies be breast fed?

What can day-care workers do to minimize the dangers of infection caused by fecal contamination?

How can you prevent childhood poisoning?

How can you tell if your child has ingested something poisonous?

How can you protect your children from iron poisoning?

Why should women of child-bearing age consume an adequate amount of folic acid?

Why do eating disorders (bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa) require medical attention?

Is mercury in fish a safety concern?

What are some of the questionable weight loss products?


Why are seniors at-risk for foodborne illness?

What should seniors avoid eating to prevent foodborne illness?

How can seniors prevent foodborne illness:

- when shopping at the market?

- when preparing food at home?

- when eating out and/or bringing food home?

- when taking care of young children?


Frequently Asked Consumer Questions About Food Safety and Terrorism

Questions and Answers about BSE (mad cow disease)

Can you believe the food safety reports that you read and hear in the media?

How does one recognize quackery?

Does washing fresh produce eliminate pesticides residues from food?

What should you do if you suspect you have a food allergy?

Will bioengineered foods cause allergic reactions?

What precautions should consumers follow to avoid exposure to lead from food or other sources?

Is food irradiation safe?

Where do you report unlawful sales on the Internet of FDA regulated products?

What is FDA doing about the safety of imported foods?

Is irradiated food safe to eat?

Is irradiated food safe? How is it labeled?

How will I know if food has been irradiated?

How do microwaves work?

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Additional Consumer Advice from Federal Agencies

  • Food and Drug Administration
bulletFDA Consumer Magazine
  • Easy-to-Read Publications from FDA
  • More Information
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • bullethealthfinderTM
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • bulletBureau of Consumer Protection
  • Diet, Health and Fitness
  • Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA
  • bulletFood Safety Publications (Includes food safety advice after a disaster)
  • General Services Administration
  • bulletConsumer Information Center
  • Other Government Food Safety Information
  • bulletwww.FoodSafety.gov - Gateway to Government Consumer Advice on Food Safety


    Food Safety and Inspection Service
    United States Department of Agriculture
    Washington, D.C. 20250-3700

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