September 24, 2021

September is Food Safety Education Month to Stay Healthy

September is Food Safety Education Month to keep you and your family healthy. This year the focus is on how to prevent food poisoning when cooking at home.

September is Food Safety Education Month to Stay Healthy

 

First, following the four step recipe for food safety is crucial: Clean (wash your hands often, clean counters with hot soapy water, don’t wash chicken or meat); Separate (keep raw meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, and eggs away from produce); Cook (cook foods to safe final internal temperatures and use a food thermometer); and Chill (refrigerate leftovers promptly).

Then, you should focus on preventing Salmonella infections. Salmonella causes more foodborne illnesses in the United States than any other bacteria. Chicken is a major source of these illnesses, although outbreaks linked to ground beef have also occurred.

It’s important to treat these raw meats as if they are contaminated. Always be conscious of this risk when handling them. Cook raw meats within a day or two of purchase. Wash your hands with soap and water every time you touch the raw meats. Use separate cutting boards for working with raw meats and working with everything else, including produce, cheese, and bread.

Cooking food to safe final internal temperatures is one of the best ways to protect yourself. All chicken and turkey, including ground products should be cooked to 165°F, every time. All ground meats, including pork, beef, and veal, should be cooked to 160°F. And solid cuts of meat, including roasts, should be cooked to 145°F with a three minute standing time. This “kill step” is crucial to destroy any pathogens that may be on or in the poultry or meat.

Then promptly refrigerating leftovers is equally as important. In the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F, bacterial counts can double every 20 minutes. Divide large quantities of food into small shallow containers and refrigerate within two hours after they finish cooking.

Finally, eat or freeze leftovers within four days. And reheat leftovers to 165°F, checking the temperature again with a food thermometer before you eat them.

Now that you know how to handle food safely at home, there is more information about Food Safety Education Month at the CDC.

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