Each year, millions of people become sick due to food poisoning. Those with the highest risk include: pregnant women, infants, elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Keeping food safe should be a priority year around, but in the summer, take a few extra precautions!
Here are a few ways to keep your family safe from unsafe foods.
- Start with a clean cooking surface. Make sure all counter-tops or food surfaces are properly cleaned prior to food prep.
- Wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after touching food. Teach this to your children, or other family members by having them sing the “happy birthday song” while hand washing.
- Always thaw meat in the refrigerator and keep it below other items to prevent leakage.
- Never allow meat to thaw on the counter-top as this increase risk for bacteria growth.
- Use one cutting board for meat and another for vegetables and other ingredients. (Buying color-coded cutting boards, such as red for meat and green for veggies can help keep food items separate.)
- Whether at home, camping or at a picnic, don’t let food sit out of the refrigerator or cooler for more than two hours.
- Store cold foods below 40 degrees and hot foods above 140 degrees, always remember the temperature danger zone is between the two!
- Re-heat foods to 165 degrees, a food thermometer is helpful at home.
- A good time frame for left overs is about 72 hours (3 days) after that…toss it!
- When in doubt, throw it out!