A person washing their hands under a sink faucet. Text says, 'food safety education month'.

September is Food Safety Education Month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 6 Americans get sick with foodborne illness each year. Lucky for us, food poisoning is preventable; but we all must work together to protect ourselves and each other. What’s your food safety questions? Here are a few that I’ve received since working at University of Illinois Extension:

A beach with a surfboard propped up in the sand

Many people are longing to get away this year, and what better way to pursue happiness than a trip to the beach? The silky sand and gorgeous water views are perfect for relaxing in the sun. But a day on the beach requires some planning to keep yourself nourished and hydrated.

Calendar with the 18th circled in red marker

If you’ve ever been confused about the dates stamped on food products, you’re not alone. A United States consumer survey appearing in the Waste Management journal reported 84% of consumers discard food near the package date at least occasionally. However, the package date rarely has anything to do with the safety of the food product. This contributes to a lot of food unnecessarily wasted.

Hiking trail in the woods.

Many people are itching to get out of their homes and enjoy the beautiful weather, which is why there's been an increased interest in forest bathing. Don't worry, this does not involve actual bathing!

Quite simply, forest bathing is being in nature while having a conscious connection to the natural environment. Whether it’s a hike, swim, or run to strengthen the physical body or the mind, it’s always important to be prepared with meals, snacks, and drinks to fuel your adventure.

Ice cubes

Other than breastmilk, I can honestly say I have never stored milk in the freezer…until now. This is the time to put that freezer to good use. Freezing is one of the easiest ways to store food for longer periods of time. Before you go to the store, check your freezer(s) to make sure you have the space. If you don’t already have a freezer thermometer, add it to the grocery list, and maintain the freezer temperature at 0°F or below.