Ten Food Safety Tips

by Laura on September 30, 2014

in Blog, Partaking, Planning, Preparing, Purchasing, Ten for Tuesday


The Federal government estimates that there are about 48 million cases of foodborne illness annually — the equivalent of sickening 1 in 6 Americans each year. And each year, these illnesses result in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Although everyone is susceptible, some people are at greater risk for developing foodborne illness including pregnant women, young children, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems.

From buying food, to preparing and storing, it is important to take food safety seriously. This week’s Ten for Tuesday post features Ten Food Safety Tips to help prevent foodborne illness this summer, and throughout the year.

 Ten Food Safety Tips

1. Wash Thoroughly. Wash your hands, wash your produce, and wash your surfaces. Keeping a clean environment will help cut down on any food borne illnesses and that starts with clean hands. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. Rinse all your fresh fruits and vegetables under running water, even those with skins and rinds that you won’t be eating. And, wash all surfaces that are to come in contact with food – before and after preparation. Also, be sure to clean the lids of canned food before opening.

2. Put groceries away as soon as possible. Raw meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and produce that requires refrigeration should not sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours. That limit is shortened to one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees F.

3. Marinate food in the refrigerator. And, don’t reuse a marinade that has come into contact with raw food unless it is first boiled. Bring soups, sauces and gravies to a boil when reheating.

Not on the counter

Not on the counter

4. Don’t thaw food on the counter. Food must be kept at a safe temperature during thawing. The safe ways to defrost food include: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave. Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.

5. Don’t rinse your beef, pork, lamb or veal before cooking it. Many of us have been taught to rinse our meat or poultry before cooking it, believing that we are removing the bacteria and making it safe. However, there are types of bacteria that can be easily washed off and splashed on the surfaces of your kitchen. Failure to clean these contaminated areas can lead to foodborne illness. The key to destroying foodborne bacteria is cooking (or baking, broiling, and grilling) at the proper temperature.

6. Help prevent cross contamination by using several cutting boards. Use one for fresh produce, and a separate one for raw meat, seafood, or poultry. And, be sure not to place cooked foods on a plate or board that held raw meat, seafood, poultry or eggs.

7. Use a cooking thermometer. You can’t tell if food is properly cooked simply by looking at it. Instead, use a food thermometer to ensure proper cooking temperature has been reached, and know the USDA guidelines for safely cooking meat, poultry and fish. Visit the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service for more information. Here is a Safe Cooking Temperature Chart

Pay attention to the fridge

Pay attention to the fridge

8. Pay attention to the refrigerator. Cold air must circulate around foods in order to keep them properly chilled, therefore make sure you don’t over pack the fridge. Wipe up spills immediately (especially those from thawing meats) to reduce the growth of Listeria bacteria. And, clean out the refrigerator frequently.



Properly store leftovers

9.Properly store leftovers. Perishable food, whether homemade or take-out, should never be left out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than 2 hours. In hot weather – above 90°F/32°C – return items to the refrigerator after one hour. Use shallow containers to store cooked foods in the refrigerator or freezer to encourage rapid, even cooling. Your refrigerator should be 40°F/-15°C or below for safe food storage. Use a refrigerator thermometer to make sure the temperature is right. Storage Times for the Refrigerator and Freezer.

10. Buy local. There has been increased scrutiny on the safety of many foods. Recently, pre-packaged salad greens caused an outbreak of flu-like symptoms in Nebraska and Iowa, and hundreds reported a Hepatitis A infection that were linked to imported pomegranate seeds from Turkey. While there is no assurance that foods from local sources are always safe, the fewer steps between source and table, the less chance of contamination. Further, when you look a farmer in the eye at farmers’ market or drive to he fields where your food comes from, the food is no longer anonymous.

These, and other great food safety tips, can be found at the FDA website as well as Component Design Northwest, the Time and Temperature Company.



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