Food and Kitchen Safety
Poor kitchen practices are the leading cause of cross contamination and dangerous foodborne illnesses like Salmonella and E. Coli. Below are tips to help you keep yourself and your families healthy.
- Always wash your hands with warm water and soap before preparing any foods, and after touching raw meats.
- Sanitize surfaces with hot, soapy water, before and after cooking.
- Keep your refrigerator free from old, or moldy foods. Cooked leftovers should be discarded after 4 days; raw poultry and ground meats, 1 to 2 days.
- Keep your appliances clean, inside and out.
- Always rinse produce and scrub potatoes before cooking or eating. This helps prevent microbes on the outside from being brought through the produce during cutting.
- Safety begins at the grocery store! Separate your produce from meat and seafood in your cart. I like to keep my produce on the top part of the cart to prevent meat from dripping. Place raw meat and seafood in separate plastic bags and put them together on the conveyor belt - they should even be bagged separately from other items.
- When prepping food, it is incredibly important to designate areas of your kitchen for different prepping. Fruits and vegetables should have their own cutting board, knife and counter space, apart from meat. Also, never put cooked products back on the prep board or plate that once had raw products.
- When thawing meat in your refrigerator, be sure to keep separate from other foods in your fridge, and thaw meat on the bottom shelf in a large bowl to prevent any liquid from leaking to other areas.
- Improper temperature control is one of the leading causes of sickness. Use a thermometer to always measure the internal temperature of your meat and poultry.
- Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb, and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a safe minimum internal temperature of 145 °F. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least 3 minutes before carving or eating. Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F. Cook all poultry, including ground turkey and chicken, to an internal temperature of 165 °F
- If reheating leftovers, be sure to reheat until steaming hot - and only do this one time! Food should not be reheated repeatedly.
- Holding temperatures is also a very important piece of kitchen safety. Hold cold foods at 40 °F or below. Keep hot foods at 140 °F or above. Foods are no longer safe to eat when they have been in the danger zone between 40-140 °F for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature was above 90 °F)
For more information, visit your county or government's Health Department website, or foodsafety.gov