Welcome to the Food Safety for Parents of Young Children website!

Children are at risk for foodborne illness, some researchers estimate that one-third of all foodborne illness costs ($2.4 billion annually) are the result of illnesses in infants and children under the age of 10. Infants (under 1 year of age) have the highest reported cases of salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, and E. coli (O157:H7) for all age categories.

Several biological reasons explain why children under 10 years of age are at greater risk for food borne illness. Children have immune systems that are not fully developed and typically a lower body weight, where a lower pathogen load can still cause illness. The other risk factor beyond the child’s control is proper food handling practices of others.

For example, some of these illnesses are related to improper handling of baby formula. Research suggests that 33% of mothers mix formula with warm tap water, fail to keep prepared formula cold and put their baby to bed with a bottle. Failure to follow safe handling practices of formula may indicate poor handling practices of other foods as well.

Busy families with young children may eat out more often, may prepare less food at home, and may have less experience with handling food, which also increases their risk for foodborne illness. Families with young children need food safety information to help them use safe food handling practices whether preparing food in the home or making food choices when eating away from home. While families with young children may be unaware of the nature of food borne illnesses, more importantly, they are unlikely to follow safe food handling practices.
We hope you find the following information useful.

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University of Nebraska