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Food Safety Tips

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s estimated that 48 million people in the U.S. get sick from foodborne diseases each year. But the good news is, preventing it is quite easy. Here's a guide to ensure safe food handling and delicious meals: 

Cleanliness is key

  • Wash hands frequently: This is your defense against harmful bacteria. Use warm, soapy water and scrub for 20 seconds, reaching all surfaces including your wrists and under your nails. Rinse well.
  • Wash after handling raw food: This includes meat, poultry, seafood and even eggs. Wash hands again after switching tasks like chopping vegetables or handling cooked food.
  • Clean surfaces and utensils: Don't forget cutting boards, counters and utensils that come in contact with raw food. Wash them with hot, soapy water or use a sanitizing solution.

Prevent cross-contamination:

  • Separate raw and cooked foods: This prevents harmful bacteria from raw food spreading to cooked food. Use separate plates, utensils and cutting boards for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Never put cooked food back on the same plate that held raw food.
  • Cover and store food properly: Keep raw meat in sealed containers or plastic wrap to prevent juices from leaking onto other foods in the fridge.
  • Beware of the "danger zone": Bacteria multiply rapidly between 40°F (4°C) and 140°F (60°C). Refrigerate or heat food promptly to keep it out of this temperature zone.

Cook and store at safe temperatures:

  • Use a food thermometer: It's the only way to ensure food reaches safe internal temperatures that kill harmful bacteria.
  • Minimum safe temperatures:
    • 165°F (74°C) for whole cuts of meat, poultry, and stuffed meats.
    • 145°F (63°C) for fish.
    • 160°F (71°C) for leftover and reheated foods.
  • Thaw frozen food safely:
    • Thaw in the refrigerator, in cold water (changing water every 30 minutes) or in the microwave using the defrost setting.
    • Cook immediately after thawing.
  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly: Cool leftover food within 2 hours and refrigerate within 4 hours. Leftovers are best consumed within 3-4 days or frozen for longer storage.
  • Reheat thoroughly: Heat leftovers to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) using a food thermometer.

Food safety on-the-go:

  • Maintaining food temperature: When traveling with food, keep hot items above 140°F (60°C) and cold items below 40°F (4°C) using insulated containers.

By following these simple food safety practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of foodborne illness and enjoy your meals with confidence.

Learn more about food poisoning, its causes, prevention and treatment.

Helpful reads about safe food practices

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