Healthy Habits for Healthy Living
Food Safety 101
Practicing good food safety habits at home will help keep the foods you eat safe and reduce your risk of foodborne illness. Each year, millions of people are sickened and thousands of people die as a result of food poisoning. When it comes to spoiled food or contamination of food with harmful bacteria, no one is safe from food poisoning.
So stay savvy about home food safety with these basic steps:
Keep It Clean
- Start with a clean kitchen and clean surfaces. Use separate sponges for cleaning counters and washing dishes.
- Wash your hands thoroughly in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before, during and after food preparation. This is especially important after handling raw meat or seafood.
- Gently scrub and rinse fruits and vegetables in cold water prior to cutting. Place washed produce into clean storage containers, and not back into the original ones.
Maintain Good Meat Safety
- Use one cutting board for meat, poultry and seafood, and another for vegetables and other ingredients. Wash cutting boards thoroughly in hot, soapy water after each use.
- Keep raw meat and seafood separate from other foods. Store meat on the bottom shelf or in the meat bin in your refrigerator. This will keep meat juices from dripping on other items.
- Thaw meat properly in the microwave or refrigerator. Never thaw frozen items by leaving them on the counter or soaking them in hot water.
- If your recipe requires marinating for more than a minute or two, put meat and marinade in a covered dish in the refrigerator.
Cook Foods to Proper Temperatures
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure you cook meat, poultry, fish and seafood to proper temperatures.
- Never eat raw eggs or anything with raw eggs in it. If a recipe calls for raw eggs, such as Caesar salad dressing, use a liquid pasteurized egg substitute.
Refrigerate Right Away
- Refrigerate perishable foods and leftovers right away. Do not let them cool on the counter or sit out for more than two hours. Set your refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler. Check the temperature with a refrigerator thermometer.
- Label your leftovers with the date. Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you aren’t sure whether a food has gone bad, throw it away.
For more information on food safety, visit www.foodsafety.gov
For those of you who have specific nutrition related questions, feel free to contact me at
|___||Mary Snell, MS RD CD
Director of Nutrition and Wellness