Don’t let your kitchen become a “danger zone”! From preparation to refrigeration, read on to find out five important tips for food safety.
1. Sanitation: Clean kitchen surfaces before you begin cooking or preparing food. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before and after handling any raw food items. Thoroughly wash with soap and water before re-using cutting boards, utensils, tools, knives, plates and any other items used to handle raw meat.
2. Preparation: Practice safe food preparation by thawing your meat in the refrigerator or microwave, never on the counter. Wash fruits and veggies thoroughly before serving.
3. Cooking: Whether you’re grilling, baking or pan-frying, use a meat thermometer to ensure your food is cooked to the proper temperature: at least 170 degrees for chicken breasts, 160 degrees for ground beef, pork chops/roasts, 145 degrees for fish.
4. Separation: Prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen by keeping uncooked meats and raw eggs (and the utensils used to handle them) separate from cooked meats, fruits, veggies, other food items and clean utensils.
5. Refrigeration: After the meal, prevent contamination by storing and refrigerating the food as quickly as possible. Divide it into small portions, if possible, to ensure that it cools rapidly. Discard hot or cold food that has been sitting out longer than two hours ““ “when in doubt, throw it out!”