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Food Safety Tips for Your Home

From Our Kitchen

Food poisoning happens more often than we like to believe. The nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps we attribute to the “flu” may actually be caused by foodborne illness. You can minimize the risk of foodborne illness by following these basic safety tips:

Keep things clean. Wash your hands with hot soapy water before touching food, and wash them again before you begin working with the next ingredient. Wash cutting boards, knives, bowls and utensils as well.

Keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold. To stay safe, food should remain below 40° or above 140° to minimize bacterial growth.

Defrost frozen products in the refrigerator. Yes, it takes more time -- but it’s safe!

Cook food to the recommended temperature, usually 145° to 165°. Use a meat thermometer to be sure.

Cool cooked foods properly before storing in the refrigerator. Place the food in a shallow pan to cool; you can speed the process by placing the pan in an ice bath. Your goal is to get the temperature down to 70° in two hours, then refrigerate the product. Don’t place a hot pot in the fridge to cool! The heat from the pot can raise the refrigerator temperature to dangerous levels, endangering all your food. Meanwhile, harmful bacteria will multiply in the hot center of the pot until the internal temperature finally reaches the 40° safety zone.

Use it or lose it. Label your leftovers before storing them in the refrigerator. Use leftover product within three days or discard it. You can only reheat food one time. If you don’t consume all of it, you need to discard whatever is left.

Follow your nose. If something smells ”funny,” looks discolored or is damaged in any way, don’t eat it!

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