Healthy eating will not only decrease your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes, but can also decrease your risk of food-borne illness. Keeping food safe is a easy if you follow these four simple steps.
Step 1: CLEAN.
- Wash your hands following these six steps:
- Wet your hands with warm, running water.
- Apply soap.
- Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. Don’t forget to clean around your fingernails where germs like to hide.
- Dry your hands on a paper towel or clean, cloth towel.
- Wash your hands often, but especially after coughing, sneezing or going to the bathroom and always before and after handling food.
- Wash countertops, cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot, soapy water.
- Rinse fruits and vegetables under clean, running water even if you plan to peel them.
Step 2: SEPARATE.
- Separate raw meats, poultry, seafood and eggs from foods that are ready-to-eat or that can be eaten raw.
- At the grocery store, place raw meats in a separate bag from ready-to-eat foods.
- At home, refrigerate raw meats on the bottom shelf or in the meat drawer to prevent juices from dripping onto other foods.
- Use one cutting board for raw meat, poultry and seafood and another for salads and other ready-to-eat food.
- Wash cutting boards and knives between uses.
Step 3: COOK.
- Use a food thermometer to make sure food has reached a high enough internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria that can cause illness. You can’t tell by just looking.
- Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the food away from any bones.
- Meats are safe to eat when they’ve reached the following internal temperatures:
- Beef – 145°F (160°F for medium doneness)
- Ground beef – 160°F
- Pork – 145°F
- Poultry – 165°F
Step 4: CHILL.
- Chill leftovers and takeout foods within two hours.
- Freeze leftovers within three to four days if they will not be used immediately.
- Keep the refrigerator at 40°F or below and the freezer at 0°F or below.
- Use refrigerator/freezer thermometers to measure the temperature inside your appliance.
- Thaw meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
- Marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
- Don’t leave foods in the temperature danger zone (40-140°F) for more than two hours or for longer than one hour if the food is outdoors and temperatures are above 90°F.