Food prep safety tips

Food safety is no joke. Each year, one out of six Americans gets sick from eating contaminated food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here are a few ways you can avoid being that person, according to the CDC.

Refrigerator and storage safety tips:

– The fridge should be set between 32 and 40 degrees F, and the freezer should be at 0 degrees F or below.

– Fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs and meats should return to the refrigerator within two hours of getting out — or within one hour if the temperature outside is higher than 90 degrees F.

– Raw meat should be kept on the bottom shelf and away from fresh produce.

– Do all your thawing and marinating in the refrigerator rather than the countertop.

– Keep your meat and poultry wrapped securely to maintain the quality and to prevent the juice from dripping onto other foods, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

– Canned foods can be stored indefinitely as long as they don’t freeze or are exposed to temperatures higher than 90 degrees F. Discard cans that are dented, rusted or swollen, according to the USDA. High-acid canned food — tomatoes and fruits — will be at their highest quality for 12 to 18 months, while low-acid cans – meats and vegetables — will be best for two to five years.

Before you start cooking:

– Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and running water.

– Wash your fruits and veggies before you peel them.

– Don’t wash your meat or poultry (it actually spreads contamination).

– Use separate cutting boards and knives for meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and vegetables.

While you cook:

– Use a thermometer — poultry should be cooked to an internal temp of 165 degrees F; ground beef, pork, lamb and veal at 160; and beef, pork, lamb, veal chops, roasts, steaks and fish at 145.

– When reheating in the microwave, all food should reach 165 degrees F.

Written by Danielle Braff. Photo by 123RF.

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