Food Safety

Know how to eat!

The Basics:

-Everyone should know that some people are at higher risk for developing foodborne illness. Pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are the most common people that should pay extra attention to what they put to their bodies.

-If someone you know is at risk, please educate them and yourself on food safety at www.fsis.usda.gov

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Foodborne Bacteria

Often called “food poisoning,” foodborne illness comes from a food you eat. It’s caused by ingesting pathogenic bacteria.

Spoilage and pathogenic bacteria are the two most common types of Foodborne bacteria. But only pathogenic bacteria will cause serious illness.

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4 Steps to food safety:

Clean-

Wash hands and surfaces often


Why it matters

Illness-causing bacteria can survive in many places around your kitchen, including your hands, utensils, and cutting boards.

Unless you wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces the right way, you could spread bacteria to your food, and your family.

Separate

Don’t cross-contaminate


Why it matters

Even after you’ve cleaned your hands and surfaces thoroughly, raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can still spread illness-causing bacteria to ready-to-eat foods—unless you keep them separate.

But which foods need to be kept separate, and how?

Follow these top tips to keep your family safe

Use separate cutting boards and plates for produce and for meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.

Placing ready-to-eat food on a surface that held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs can spread bacteria and make you sick. But stopping cross-contamination is simple.

Cook

Cook to the right temperature


Why it matters

Did you know that the bacteria that cause food poisoning multiply quickest in the “Danger Zone” between 40˚ and 140˚ Fahrenheit?

And while many people think they can tell when food is “done” simply by checking its color and texture, there’s no way to be sure it’s safe without following a few important but simple steps

Follow these top tips to keep your family safe

Use a food thermometer.

Cooked food is safe only after it’s been heated to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria. Color and texture alone won’t tell you whether your food is done. Instead, use a food thermometer to be sure.

Chill

Refrigerate promptly


Why it matters

Did you know that illness-causing bacteria can grow in perishable foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them? (And if the temperature is 90 ˚F or higher during the summer, cut that time down to one hour!)

But by refrigerating foods promptly and properly, you can help keep your family safe from food poisoning at home.

Follow these top tips to keep your family safe

Refrigerate perishable foods within two hours.

Cold temperatures slow the growth of illness causing bacteria. So it’s important to chill food promptly and properly.

Common myths about food safety at home

Myth #1: Food poisoning isn’t that big of a deal. I just have to tough it out for a day or two and then it’s over.

Fact: Many people don’t know it, but some foodborne illnesses can actually lead to long-term health conditions, and 3,000 Americans a year die from foodborne illness.

Myth #2: It’s OK to thaw meat on the counter. Since it starts out frozen, bacteria isn’t really a problem.

Fact: Actually, bacteria grow surprisingly rapidly at room temperatures, so the counter is never a place you should thaw foods.

Myth #3: When cleaning my kitchen, the more bleach I use, the better. More bleach kills more bacteria, so it’s safer for my family.

Fact: There is actually no advantage to using more bleach than needed. To clean effectively, use just one teaspoon of liquid, unscented bleach to one quart of water.

Myth #4: I don’t need to wash fruits or vegetables if I’m going to peel them.

Fact: Because it’s easy to transfer bacteria from the peel or rind you’re cutting to the inside of your fruits and veggies, it’s important to wash all produce.

Myth #5: To get rid of any bacteria on my meat, poultry, or seafood, I should rinse off the juices with water first.

Fact: Actually, rinsing meat, poultry, or seafood with water can increase your chance of food poisoning by splashing juices (and any bacteria they might contain) onto your sink and counters. The best way to cook meat, poultry, or seafood safely is to cook it to the right temperature.

Myth #6: The only reason to let food sit after it’s been microwaved is to make sure you don’t burn yourself on food that’s too hot.

Fact: In fact, letting the food sit in the microwave helps your food cook more completely by allowing colder areas of food time to absorb heat from hotter areas of food.

Myth #7: Leftovers are safe to eat until they smell bad.

Fact: The kinds of bacteria that cause food poisoning do not affect the look, smell, or taste of food.

Myth #8: Once food has been cooked, all the bacteria have been killed, so I don’t need to worry once it’s “done.”

Fact: Actually, the possibility of bacterial growth actually increases after cooking, because the drop in temperature allows bacteria to thrive.

Myth #9: Marinades are acidic, which kills bacteria—so it’s OK to marinate foods on the counter.

Fact: Even in the presence of acidic marinade, bacteria can grow very rapidly at room temperatures. To marinate foods safely, it’s important to marinate them in the fridge.

Myth #10: If I really want my produce to be safe, I should wash fruits and veggies with soap or detergent before I use them.

Fact: In fact, it’s best not to use soaps or detergents on produce, since these products can linger on foods and are not safe for consumption.

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