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Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
September 15, 2006

Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.

For Further Information Contact:
Gretchen Michael

DHSS Campaign Promotes Food Safety in New Jersey


DHSS Campaign Promotes Food Safety in New Jersey


The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is participating in a nationwide campaign targeting food workers and stressing the importance of clean utensils and equipment in safe food handling.


The campaign marks National Food Safety Education Month, conducted each year in September in partnership with the U.S.Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Restaurant Association. 


This year’s theme, Don’t Compromise, Clean and Sanitize, aims to educate food handlers about the importance of proper washing and cleaning of food equipment, utensils and other food contact surfaces.


Contaminated equipment tops a list of five major factors contributing to foodborne illness in the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The other four factors are poor personal hygiene, inadequate cooking of raw animal foods like meat and poultry, insufficient control of food temperature and foods from unsafe sources.


Safe equipment practices include:


·        Thorough cleaning and sanitization of food contact surfaces to prevent food-related bacteria and viruses from contaminating foods


·        Ensuring that food contact surfaces used for preparing raw animal foods are cleaned and sanitized thoroughly prior to use in preparation of other ready-to-eat foods


·        Proper storage of clean utensils, tableware and equipment to prevent contamination


·        Maintaining and operating mechanical dishwashers according to manufacturers specifications and state health code requirements.


DHSS Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D., said repeated education directly impacts safe handling practices at New Jersey restaurants and food stores. “Everyone wins when food service managers and food workers make safety a part of the way they do business,” Dr. Jacobs said. 


In addition to inspections by local health departments, the DHSS Food and Drug Safety Program enforces food safety laws in New Jersey. The program issues licenses and also conducts inspections of wholesale food, milk and shellfish establishments, and assists in foodborne illness investigations.


DHSS food and drug safety staff participate in food safety programs throughout New Jersey during National Food Safety Education Month each September: 


·        On Sept. 20, DHSS representatives will speak at the annual meeting of the NJ Environmental Health Association at the PNC Bank Reception Center on the “Ask Before You Eat” foodborne allergen awareness campaign.


·        On Sept. 26 in Atlantic City, DHSS staff will speak before the convention of Central Atlantic States Association of Food and Drug Officials about proposed revisions to the N.J. State Sanitary Code


·        On Sept. 28, program representatives will host the New Jersey Retail Food Protection Summit in Cherry Hill.


The DHSS Food and Drug Safety Program also works year-round with representatives of the Department’s Division on Aging and Community Services, Office of Community Education and the Office of Community Programs, to disseminate food safety information to older residents in New Jersey. 


For further information about National Food Safety Education Month, visit


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