Food Safety in the Home
There is a lot you can do to prevent foodborne illness in your home. You probably already practice most of these preventative steps without knowing it, because practicing food safety means using common sense. Below is a list of measures you can take to keep your family safe.
Wash your hands thoroughly and often, especially after handling raw meats, using the restroom or changing diapers. Also, make sure you wash your hands before you begin preparing any food!
Make the grocery store your last errand before you go home.
- Buy dairy and meat products last. This way you minimize the time they are not refrigerated.
- Be sure to put perishable foods in the refrigerator as soon as you get home.
Keep a thermometer in your refrigerator, and make sure the temperature stays below 40°F.
- When thawing foods, thaw in the refrigerator, under running water for less than two hours, as part of conventional cooking, or in the microwave as long as the food will be cooked immediately. Do not thaw foods on the counter top!
- Don't cross contaminate! Use separate cutting boards for meat and for vegetables. Don't put cooked meat back on a cutting board or plate that was used for raw meat. The same goes for knives - don't use the same knife for vegetables or cooked meat that you used for raw meat.
- Cover and store leftover cooked food in the refrigerator as soon as possible.
- Divide leftovers into smaller portions so that they cool faster and are convenient for reheating individual portions.
- Reheat all leftovers until they are steaming hot.
- Thoroughly cook all meat, poultry, and seafood - especially shellfish. Use a food thermometer to make sure you reach the following temperatures:
Stuffed products: 165°F
Hot Dogs: 135°F
Check out the following links for more tips on how to keep your kitchen safe!