Food Safety

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Kitchen Ade

Food Safety

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Preserving Food

 

Basics for Handling Food Safely

Many do not take food safety seriously enough. In fact, food borne illness affects an estimated 70 million or more Americans each year alone. It is thought that a large portion of what most people believe is the flu, is actually food borne illness.

There are a number of simple ways that can help reduce your chances of being exposed. The information found on the FSIS site is both thorough and informative. The following information on basic food safety and much more can be found there.

Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential to prevent food-borne illness. You can't see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness. In every step of food preparation, follow the four "Fight BAC!" guidelines to keep food safe.

  • Clean - Wash hands and surfaces often.

  • Separate - Don't cross-contaminate.

  • Cook - Cook to proper temperatures.

  • Chill - Refrigerate promptly.

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Shopping

  • Purchase refrigerated or frozen items after selecting your non-perishables.

  • Never choose meat, poultry or fish in packaging that is torn or leaking.

  • Do not buy food past "Sell-By," "Use-By," or other expiration dates.

  • Put raw meat, poultry and fish into a plastic bag so meat juices will not cross-contaminate ready-to-eat food or food that is eaten raw, such as vegetables or fruit.

  • Plan to drive directly home from the grocery store. You may want to take a cooler with ice for the perishables.

Storage

  • Unless thoroughly iced, don't leave seafood - raw or cooked - out of the refrigerator

  • Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 F).

  • Check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer with an appliance thermometer. The refrigerator should be at 40 F or below and the freezer at 0 F or below,

  • frozenpasta.jpg (150x108 -- 3695 bytes)Cook or freeze fresh poultry, fish, ground meats, and variety meats within 2 days; other beef, veal, lamb, or pork, within 3 to 5 days.

  • Perishable food such as meat, poultry and fish should be wrapped securely to maintain quality and to prevent meat juices from getting onto other food.

  • To maintain quality when freezing meat, poultry or fish in its original package, wrap the package again with foil or plastic wrap that is recommended for the freezer.

  • Store fresh seafood in the coldest part of your refrigerator (usually the lowest shelf at the back or in the meat keeper).

  • Don't suffocate live lobsters, oysters, clams or mussels by sealing them in a plastic bag. They need to breathe, so store them covered with a clean damp cloth. Before cooking, check that lobsters are still moving. Make sure clams and mussels are still alive by tapping open shells. Discard any that do not close.

  • In general, high-acid canned food such as tomatoes, grapefruit, and pineapple can be stored on the shelf for 12 to 18 months. Low-acid canned food such as meat, poultry, fish, and most vegetables will keep 2 to 5 years - if the can remains in good condition and has been stored in a cool, clean, and dry place. Discard cans that are dented, leaking, bulging, or rusted.

Preparation

  • Always wash hands before and after handling food.

  • cuttingbrd.jpg (200x112 -- 5054 bytes) Don't cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices away from other food. 

  • After cutting raw meats, wash hands, cutting board, knife, and countertops with hot, soapy water. 

  • Marinate meat, poultry and fish in a covered dish in the refrigerator. 

  • Sanitize cutting boards by using a solution of 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water.

  • Never pre-stuff poultry or roasts - stuff immediately before it goes into the oven.

Thawing

  • Refrigerator: The refrigerator allows slow, safe thawing. Make sure thawing meat and poultry juices do not drip onto other food.

  • Cold Water: For faster thawing, place food in a leak-proof plastic bag. Submerge in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook 
    immediately after thawing.

  • candfthermometer.gif (100x306 -- 5753 bytes)Microwave: Cook meat and poultry immediately after microwave thawing. 

Cooking

  • Use a meat thermometer to be certain of the meat temperature in the thickest part of the center

  • Cook ground meats to 160 F; ground poultry to 165 F. 

  • Beef, veal, and lamb steaks, roasts, and chops may be cooked to 145 F.

  • All cuts of fresh pork, 160 F. 

  • Whole poultry should reach 180 F in the thigh; breasts, 170 F.

  • Measure fish and seafood product at its thickest point. If the fish is stuffed or rolled, measure it after stuffing or rolling.

  • At 450 degrees F, cook it 10 minutes per inch thickness of the fish, turning the fish halfway through the cooking time. For example, a 1-inch fish steak should be cooked 5 minutes on each side for a total of 10 minutes. Pieces of fish less than 1/2-inch thick do not have to be turned over.

  • Add 5 minutes to the total cooking time if you are cooking the fish in foil or if the fish is cooked in a sauce.

  • Double the cooking time (20 minutes per inch) for frozen fish that has not been defrosted.

Serving

  • Serve food on a clean, preferably heated, platter

  • Hot food should be held at 140 F or warmer. 

  • Cold food should be held at 40 F or colder. 

  • When serving food at a buffet, keep food hot with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays. Keep food cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice or use small serving trays and replace them often. 

  • Perishable food should not be left out more than 2 hours at room temperature (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 F). 

Leftovers

  • foilwrap.jpg (150x154 -- 3941 bytes)Discard any food left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature was above 90 F). 

  • Place food into shallow containers and immediately put in the refrigerator or freezer for rapid cooling. 

  • Use cooked leftovers within 4 days. 

Refreezing

Meat and poultry defrosted in the refrigerator may be refrozen before or after cooking. If thawed by other methods, cook before refreezing. Double wrap foods to be frozen in plastic wrap, covered by foil wrap.
 

Cold Storage Chart

These short, but safe, time limits will help keep refrigerated food from spoiling or becoming dangerous to eat. Because freezing keeps food safe indefinitely, recommended storage times are for quality only.  Click here to get to the printable food storage chart.
 

Freezing Preparation Chart

Proper preparation will ensure the best quality for frozen foods - retaining their nutrients and appearance.  Click here to get to the printable freezer preparation chart.


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