Savings on food and gas are the usual reasons people sign up for grocery store loyalty cards. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these types of cards have an entirely different benefit that you probably never considered – stopping food poisoning outbreaks.
A recent Salmonella outbreak in Eastern states has sickened 42 people so far this year, but a lot more might have fallen ill if it weren't for shopper loyalty cards. When officials started questioning the food poisoning victims, they realized that they all shopped at Wegmans. After getting permission to study the patients' loyalty card data, the officials found that a lot of the people were buying Turkish pine nuts or foods that contained them.
Quickly determining the source of food poisoning outbreaks is the key to containing the number of people who are sickened. However, it can be difficult for people to remember what they ate yesterday, let alone a few weeks ago. Supermarket loyalty cards keep a record of everything that a person buys in that store going back for years. These records aren't always made available to food safety officials, but when they are, they've played an important part in stopping outbreaks.
Another crucial step in preventing food poisoning is using proper food handling and cooking techniques. As you start getting your Thanksgiving meals ready, please keep the following tips in mind:
1. Keep everything clean:
2. Avoid cross-contamination:
3. Cook foods to the proper temperatures:
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!