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Friday, May 16, 2014
Did you know that your chances of getting a foodborne illness this year are 1 in 6? When we eat and cook healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits and lean proteins we are indeed making the right choices by choosing foods that are beneficial to our health. But what’s also important is making sure that our food is handled, cooked and stored safely and properly!
With the increase in warm weather and tendency for bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses to quickly multiply and spread, be sure to follow these steps to help reduce your chances of getting a foodborne illness during the upcoming months!
Keep things clean
- ALWAYS wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm soapy water before and after preparing food, using the bathroom, touching pets or handling uncooked meat, poultry and seafood.
- Wash all countertops, pots/pans, dishes, utensils, and cutting boards before and after you prepare food or cook, especially when they come in contact with raw meat, poultry or seafood.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables with running water before eating them, with the exception of ones that come in packages that say “pre-washed” which are safe to eat right away.
- Clean up all spills immediately after they happen.
Cook food thoroughly
- Use a thermometer to ensure that meat, poultry and seafood reach the minimal internal temperature before serving.
- When using a microwave, stir food and rotate the dish often to ensure that food reaches minimum temperature of 165 degrees and contains no cold spots where bacteria can survive.
Store food properly
- Make sure your refrigerator is at a temperature that is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
- Put leftovers, takeout foods and perishables in the fridge within 2 hours of being served (within 1 hour during the summer).
- Organize your fridge so that raw meat, poultry and seafood are separated from other foods and in their own closed container.
- Label containers of food with the date you cooked or bought them to ensure that they do not get eaten past their maximum storage time.
- Make sure the refrigerator is not overcrowded and the door closes tightly.
With this warm weather also comes an increase in time spent outside while eating including BBQ’s, picnics and camping trips. Read the U.S. Department of Agricultures tips when cooking and eating outside to increase food safety!
Be sure to check out the FoodSafety, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Department of Agriculture websites for more information on food safety and ways to help reduce foodborne illnesses!
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