So it was just pointed out to me that I have not blogged in a long time! My, how time flies! I am working on a new blog now but thought to keep things going I would mini-blog on food safety today. This is a pretty important topic as food-borne illness is a serious concern and if you have ever had any type of food poisoning you know how much it sucks! So here are a few tips to keep safe:
1. Thaw meats in the refrigerator over night (in a leak proof container on the bottom shelf just in case your package leaks). You may thaw meat under cold running water, just keep meat in the original packaging. Make sure that raw meat is not at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
2. Sanitize all areas that raw meat or egg has touched! Especially your sink. If you wash your meat off in the sink before cooking make sure to wash all surfaces including the sink, the faucets, and the counter tops around the sink.
3. Cook meats to their appropriate temperature. Chicken should be cooked to at least 165 degrees F. Red meat is a little bit trickier. Ground meats of any kind should be cooked to at least 165 degrees F while steaks and roasts can be cooked to 145 degrees F. Remember if you are at a high risk (Pregnant, breast feeding, etc) always cook meat to well done!
4. Make sure to put leftovers away within 2 hours. Pack leftovers in as shallow of a container as possible and put immediately in the refrigerator.
5. Keep foods separate. Don’t use the same cutting board for meats that you use for vegetables or fruits. Make sure to clean your utensils if they touch anything that raw meat has touched. As a personal rule of thumb I always cut fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc. before touching any raw meat. This makes sure I do not cross contaminate!
6. When reheating foods make sure they are hot and steaming. If you have a thermometer, the internal temperature should be 165 degrees F.
7. I almost forgot this but thankfully remembered! DO NOT FORGET TO WASH YOUR HANDS! Wash for at least 30 seconds or the amount of time it takes you to sing happy birthday twice!
For more information on food safety you can visit the USDA’s food safety website at http://usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=food-safety.