September is Baby Safety Month family, an excellent time to talk about baby food safety. Babies and young children are more vulnerable to foodborne illness because their immune systems are not as strong as grown-ups since they are still developing. FoodSafety.gov is an excellent resource for food safety information including any up to the minute food recalls and here are their tips for Baby Food Safety:
The most important action that you can take to prevent foodborne illness in your babies and children is to wash your hands. Your hands can pick up harmful bacteria from pets, raw foods (meat, poultry, seafood, eggs), soil, and diapers so always wash your hands:
- Before and after handling food
- After using the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling pets.
Other ways to keep your baby’s food safe:
- Check the packaging of commercial baby food before serving: The following may indicate that the food is contaminated or at risk of bacterial contamination:
- For jars: Make sure that the safety button on the lid is down. Discard any jars that don’t “pop” when opened or that have chipped glass or rusty lids.
- For plastic pouches: Discard any packages that are swelling or leaking.
- Don’t “double dip” with baby food: Never put baby food in the refrigerator if the baby doesn’t finish it. Your best bet: Don’t feed your baby directly from the jar of baby food. Instead, put a small serving of food on a clean dish and refrigerate the remaining food in the jar. If the baby needs more food, use a clean spoon to serve another portion. Throw away any food in the dish that’s not eaten. If you do feed a baby from a jar, always discard any remaining food.
- Don’t share spoons: Don’t put the baby’s spoon in your mouth or anyone else’s mouth – or vice versa. If you want to demonstrate eating for your baby, get a separate serving dish and spoon for yourself.
- Never leave any open containers of liquid or pureed baby food out at room temperature for more than two hours: Harmful bacteria grows rapidly in food at room temperature.
- Store opened baby food in the refrigerator for no more than three days: If you’re not sure that the food is safe, remember this saying: “If in doubt, throw it out.”