Follow These Food Safety Tips to Keep Your Family Safe

Know how to prevent food poisoning by following these food safety tips.

Never underestimate the importance of food safety. According to the CDC, more than 200 known food borne illnesses cause 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths each year in the United States. For many of these illnesses, there isn’t a treatment. Once you get salmonella poisoning, Ecoli, or Listeria, all doctors can do is control your symptoms. Your best bet is to avoid getting sick from food borne bacteria by following these tips.

Tip #1 – Clean, Clean, Clean

Food safety and hygiene go hand-in-hand. Before handling any food, wash your hands with hot, soapy water. Don’t touch any food after using the bathroom, touching your pet, or changing a diaper until you wash your hands.

Wash all cooking and eating utensils with hot, soapy water, including cutting boards. Use plastic cutting boards instead of wood. Wooden cutting boards harbor germs and bacteria.

Use paper towels instead of cloth towels when cleaning your kitchen and wiping your hands. If you prefer to use cloth, use fresh dishcloths and towels at least once per day. Wash your dishtowels in hot water to kill germs after using.

Tip #2 – Prevent Spreading

Just as you can spread germs by not washing your hands or keeping your kitchen items clean, you can also spread germs by letting foods touch each other. Never let raw meat touch fruits and vegetables.

Always wash your hands after touching raw meat. Don’t use the same cooking utensils for other food after using them on raw meat.

Tip # Be Thorough

The best way to kill germs is with heat. Meat naturally carries many germs but you can easily kill them if you cook the meat thoroughly. When in doubt, use a clean cooking thermometer. Cook your meats to the following temperatures:

Chicken – 180 degrees Fahrenheit
Roast – 145 degrees Fahrenheit
Ground beef – 160 degrees Fahrenheit
Steak – 145 degrees Fahrenheit

When you reheat foods, be especially careful. Just because the foods were cooked thoroughly the first time, germs can still grow. When using a microwave, make sure there aren’t any ‘cold’ spots where germs may still be alive. Cook eggs until both the yolks and whites are firm.

Tip #4 – Refrigerate within Two Hours

Never leave food sitting out longer than two hours. This gives germs time to incubate and breed. This not only includes cooked food, but food that you’re thawing. Thaw your food in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave.

When you marinate food, keep it refrigerated – never sitting out on the counter. Make sure your refrigerator is keeping your food cool enough and always leave room in it so it isn’t overworked and not cooling properly.

Avoid Food-Borne Sickness

If you’ve ever had any type of food poisoning you know that it is serious. It cannot only make you feel terrible, but if you or a loved one falls into one of the high-risk categories, it can be deadly. Pregnant women, newborns, children, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are all in the high-risk category. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe from food poisoning by following these food safety tips.