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For Release:
September 07, 2007

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

For Further Information Contact:
Thoma s Slater

DHSS Participates in September’s Food Safety Education Month



Recognizing September 2007 as National Food Safety Education Month, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) reminds all residents to take proper precautions to reduce the risk of spreading disease that could be associated with the consumption of foods.


This year’s theme “Viruses – They’re in Your Hands,” focuses on preventing the spread of viruses associated with the consumption of foods such as Hepatitis A virus and noroviruses. Both viruses can remain on hands that are improperly washed.


“It is important the public understands that when someone fails to wash their hands properly, they can contaminate food.  And when that contaminated food is eaten, the microorganisms enter the body and may cause foodborne illness,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D., “New Jersey residents should understand that proper and timely handwashing is critical to preventing the transmission of these food-related viruses.” 


Commissioner Jacobs recommends the following preventive actions to reduce the risk of contracting food-related disease:

  • Wash hands after using the restroom, changing diapers, handling pets, or when-ever you have touched something that may be contaminated.
  • Wash hands before and after you prepare food and especially after preparing raw meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with hot, soapy water. Thoroughly scrub hands, wrists, fingernails, and between fingers.
  • Rinse and dry hands with a clean towel or consider using durable, disposable paper towels for drying hands.

DHSS will reach out to the public and to the retail food industry during National Food Safety Education Month by:

  • Issuing a Commissioner’s proclamation declaring September as food safety education month in New Jersey, and;
  • Disseminating food safety educational materials during the heritage festivals at the PNC Bank Arts Center on the Garden State Parkway in Holmdel, NJ and other cultural events

Many local health departments are also planning to participate in National Food Safety Education Month.  Some of the planned promotional activities include:


  • South Orange Health Department will be sponsoring a Health Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on September 8 at the Recreation Center, 5 Mead Street, South Orange.
  • Franklin Township Health Department will continue to bring handwashing information to township schools, clubs, events and groups on September 16-22.  In addition, they will also continue to promote their Handwashing Ordinance which is designed to ensure handwashing supplies are available in public rest rooms, encourage everyone to properly wash their hands, and reduce the spread of germs from poor hand hygiene.  For more information about the Franklin Township Health Department’s handwashing activities, please call 732-873-2500, extension 372.

  “We are excited about participating in this month-long campaign,” said Dr. Jacobs.

 “Americans are aware of food safety now more than ever before and, through National Food Safety Education Month, we have the opportunity to highlight what we are doing in the restaurant and foodservice industry to educate our members on proper food safety procedures.”


To download a poster about handwashing procedures and other food safety information and materials, go to:  To obtain additional information on how to get involved in National Food Safety Education Month, visit the NRAEF website at

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