Restaurants are closed and more people are staying home and cooking for themselves. Spending more time in the kitchen means food safety and avoiding food borne illness in the home kitchen should be getting more attention. No one ever wants food poisoning, and now is a REALLY bad time to need medical attention for a severe case of dehydration or diarrhea. Here are four simple tips to remains food poisoning free.
- Clean!! It’s the number one tip for food safety for a reason. Wash your hands before you begin food preparation, in between handling each separate food item, and when you finish. Wash the food preparation surfaces thoroughly, and rinse fruits and vegetables well before cooking or eating. DO NOT wash raw meat, chicken, turkey or eggs. This just spreads germs and bacteria to your sink, countertops, hands and other surfaces in the kitchen.
- Refrigerate perishable foods ASAP. Put groceries or leftovers in the refrigerator within 2 hours of purchasing or cooking to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Get them chilling within 1 hour if they’ve been exposed to temperatures over 90 degrees (like groceries in a hot car). Thaw or marinate food in the refrigerator – not in the sink or on the kitchen counter.
- Do not cross contaminate. If you use reusable shopping bags, make sure you have separate bags for meat, vegetable, and other groceries. Wash your bags after each use. Have dedicated cutting boards for meats and vegetables. Keep meats and veggies separate in the refrigerator and keep the temperature set at 40 degrees or below.
- Cook to the proper temperature. Get a food thermometer and use it! Print this chart and keep in taped to the inside of a kitchen cabinet. Proper cooking will kill illness causing bacteria and viruses.
Following these simple home food safety steps will keep you and your family illness free.