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Guest Post: National Food Safety Month

By Patsy Watkins MPS, CFCS
Family & Consumer Sciences Agent, UT/TSU Extension, Williamson County

Did you know? Food poisoning not only sends more than 100,000 Americans to the hospital each year, but it can also have long-term health consequences. Follow these 4 steps to keep your family safe from food poisoning at home.

clean

  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water.
  • Wash surfaces, cutting boards, dishes, and cooking utensils with hot soapy water after each use to prevent bacteria from spreading.
  • Wash produce under running water, but not meat, poultry, or eggs.

sep

  • Don’t cross-contaminate! Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from other foods in the grocery cart, grocery bags and in your refrigerator.
  • Use separate cutting boards/plates/utensils for produce and raw meat.

 

cook

  • Cook to the right temperature. Use a food thermometer.
  • Keep food hot after cooking (at 140oF or above). Bacterial growth increases as food cools.
  • Microwave food thoroughly (to 165oF).

chill

  • Refrigerate perishable foods at or below 40oF within 2 hours, or 1 hour if in weather over 90oF
  • Never thaw or marinate foods on the counter. Bacteria grows rapidly.
  • ¬†Know when to throw food out. Be sure to toss expired foods.

 


Food Safety myths

Myth #1:
When cleaning my kitchen, the more bleach I use, the better. More bleach kills more bacteria
Fact:
There is no advantage to using more bleach than needed. Use 1 teaspoon of bleach to 1 quart of water.

Myth #2:
I don’t need to wash fruits and vegetables if I’m going to peel them.
Fact:
You can transfer bacteria from the peel or rind you’re cutting to the inside of your fruits and veggies.

Myth #3:
Leftovers are safe to eat until they smell bad.
Fact:
The kind of bacteria that cause food poisoning do not affect the look, smell, or taste of food.

Myth #4:
Cross- contamination doesn’t happen in the refrigerator – it’s too cold for bacteria to survive!
Fact:
Bacteria can survive and some can grow in cool, moist environments like the refrigerator.

bac

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