With over 76 million Americans getting sick from food every year, food safety is a major concern for consumers. Food sickness can take days to recover from and can cause damage to your digestive system. Fortunately, simply by following these food safety tips you can stay safe from foodborne illnesses.
1. Keep your food at the right temperature.
For any food that needs to be refrigerated, make sure the temperature is set before 40°F u to prevent (or at least slow) the growth of bacteria.
2. Use the fridge for defrosting.
This might sound a little strange at first, but defrosting something slowly in the refrigerator is much less risky instead of leaving it out on the counter for more than a couple hours. If the inside of the food is still frozen and the outside is thawed, there could be a potential risk of bacteria formation.
3. Watch where you cut.
Be sure not to use the same cutting board for cooked foods as you do uncooked or raw foods since bacteria can be transferred that way. Also, try not to cut raw foods on wooden cutting boards either since the bacteria can seep into the wood grains, making it much harder to clean properly.
4. Don't consume uncooked meat.
This one sounds obvious, but sometimes it's hard to know if meats are cooked all the way. You can use a food thermometer to double check it's cooked all the way to the right temperature.
5. Don't consume unpasteurized milk or cheese.
If dairy products don't go through the pasteurization process, it's very likely that the bacteria in the food like E. coli and Salmonella are still present.
6. Scrub up.
Since childhood we've been told to wash our hands for multiple health benefits, but right before cooking it's even more important to scrub up. If you handle raw foods, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after that too.
7. Perishable foods and the 2-hour rule.
Don't consume any food that can be considered perishable like meat, eggs, or fruits and veggies, if they have been left out of the refrigerator for longer than 2 hours.
8. Stay alert for food recalls.
If you hear about a recall on any type of food, be sure to check your fridge and pantry to get rid of the item if you have it.
9. Travelers, beware of the water.
It's great to travel, but it's not great to get sick during (or after) traveling. The most common food safety mistake travelers make is not drinking good water. Make sure you only drink from sealed containers.
10. Keep raw foods on the bottom shelf.
Raw foods like meats and eggs can drip, so to keep them from dripping on perfectly good food, keep them on the bottom shelf.
Follow these food safety rules to ensure your food is free of harmful foodborne illnesses. We hope these tips keep you and your family out of the food safety danger zone!