Recently, during The Food Safety Summit held in Baltimore, hundreds of attendees got sick – ironically – from food poisoning.
While it seems as though food safety stories peak around Independence Day and Thanksgiving, it’s a subject that should stay at the forefront of our mind. It can occur at any time and, based on this latest news, no one – even food safety experts, are spared.
There are three important points to remember when you’re working with food – raw or cooked. First, wash your hands frequently. The kitchen harbors more bacteria than any other room in your home. These bacterium love kitchen towels and dish rags, cutting boards, kitchen sinks and disposals, door handles and even things like your salt and pepper shaker.
Next, cook and store foods at proper temperatures. Your refrigerator should be set between 32 degrees F and 40 degrees F to slow bacterial growth and maintain food quality. Freezing occurs at 32 F, so adjust your refrigerator accordingly to prevent unwanted freezing (such as freezing juice or milk). Zero degrees is the recommended freezer temperature. At this temperature, bacterial growth will be stopped. To determine appropriate cooking times for various types of meat, click here to see a handy chart from the Partnership of Food Safety Education.
Last, avoid cross-contamination. That means keep raw and fresh food separate in your grocery cart; use one cutting board for meat and another for fresh fruit and vegetables, and never put cooked food in a dish or platter that held raw food.