According to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) each year 48 million illnesses,
128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths in this
country can be traced to foodborne pathogens.
We’ve probably all heard our older loved ones comment
that they have always (insert poor food storage adage
here) and it was fine. However, bacteria have evolved
since their youth. There are both more types of bacteria
and they are more resistant to the usual elimination
Food sources have become more global. Even fruits
and vegetables are coming from other states and other
countries. This both increases the number of pathogens
that can be picked up between the place of origin and our
homes and introduces new bacteria that wouldn’t be in
our environment had we shopped locally.
FOOD SAFETY HEALTH
Tips for Safer Food Storage and Handling
You can start practicing safe handling as soon
as you choose your foods in the market. Here are
some basic tips:
* Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods in your shopping cart, grocery bags, and refrigerator. Use the plastic bags provided in the market (or your own) to further isolate these foods.
* Wash hands and surfaces often. Wash hands for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
* Rinse all fruit and vegetables, including those with rinds that won’t be eaten.
* Never place any food on an uncleaned surface.
* Refrigerate foods promptly in a fridge set to a temperature of 40°F or below. Bacteria that cause food poisoning multiply most quickly between 40°F and 140°F.
* Never let raw meat, poultry, eggs, fish, cooked food, or cut fruits and vegetables sit at room temperature for more than two hours before refrigerating.
* Frozen foods should be kept at a temperature of 0°F or below.
* Do not defrost foods at room temperature. Defrost in the fridge, cold water, or the microwave. Cook immediately once they have been thawed.
* Roasts and steaks should be at least 145°F.
* Poultry should be at least 165°F. Check internal temperature at the innermost part of the thigh or wing and the thickest part of the breast.
* Ground meat should be at least 160°F. The process of grinding distributes bacteria.
* Fish should be at least 145°F and/or until the flesh is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
* Eggs should be cooked until the yolk and white are firm.
* When microwaving, stir and rotate to ensure there are no cold spots.
* Sauces and gravies should be brought to a boil when reheating.
* Other leftovers should be heated thoroughly to 165°F.