Safe Food Preparation
Following proper food safety practices is important for your health and the health of your family. Because you cannot see, taste or smell illness-causing germs, correct food storage and preparation procedures are necessary to keep food safe.
There are basic steps to ensure that you reduce the threat of foodborne illness.
Wash hands and surfaces often.
Wash your hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
- Wash your hands immediately after handling raw food such as uncooked meat (especially poultry), fish, eggs and unwashed vegetables.
- Do not use tea towels or dish towels to dry your hands. Use paper towels, and throw the germs away.
Wash your cutting boards, dishes, and other surfaces with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before going on to the next food.
Disinfect preparation surfaces after they come in contact with raw food.
- You can decontaminate small items such as crockery, pans and chopping boards by scrubbing them in hot water and detergent, then rinsing them thoroughly under clean water.
- Larger items like work surfaces and tables need to be decontaminated using a sanitizer or a disinfectant.
- Wash fruits and vegetables with cold water before using.
- Do not sneeze or cough near food and avoid preparing food for others if you are ill. Keep cuts and sores on hands covered while preparing food.
Don't cross-contaminate.Cross-contamination happens when germs spread from one food to another, directly or via surfaces or hands.
Separate raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods while shopping, preparing, and storing.
- In the refrigerator: Keep washed salad items in the salad compartment, cooked and ready-to-eat food at the top, and uncooked meats covered at the bottom.
- Avoid contact between raw foods and cooked foods, and use separate cutting boards for them. Try designating one for fresh fruit/vegetables, and one for raw meats, poultry, and seafood.
- Never place cooked food on a plate or platter that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
- Washing cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before going on to the next food.
Cook food to proper temperatures.Use a food thermometer to be sure! You can find a list of recommended temperatures at USDA's safe internal temperature site:www.isitdoneyet.gov. In general, steak should be cooked to 145 Â°F/63 Â°C, hamburger to 160 Â°F/71 Â°C, and poultry to 165 Â°F/74 Â°C.
Refrigerate food promptly. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within 2 hours or sooner. (Or within 1 hour if it's 90Â° F / 32Â° C or above.)
- Once a week, check "expiration" and "use-by" dates, and throw out foods if the date has passed. When shopping, avoid buying food in damaged packages.
- Keep your refrigerator below 40Â° F / 4Â° C and your freezer at 0Â°F / -18Â° C to prevent the growth of germs in food.
- Be sure to read the label on non-refrigerated foods to see if they should be refrigerated after opening.
- Put new supplies at the back of the fridge or freezer and bring older items to the front, to remind you to use them first.