As the weather heats up, follow these tips for proper food handling.
1.Cook Food Thoroughly
To tell if your food is cooked thoroughly, checking the color of the food isn’t an accurate way. Use a thermometer to make sure that pathogens are destroyed and your grilled goodies are safe and not under cooked.
Food like salads and raw or cooked meats should never be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, but as the weather heats up the time limit becomes only 1 hour. Discard any unrefrigerated food if it exceeds the time limit.
3.Separate cooked and raw foods
If you’re getting ready to grill steak, burgers, chicken or hot dogs be sure to use two different plates, one for the raw goods and a separate, clean plate for the ready to eat foods. The same rule applies for other serving utensils.
In some cases, people know about the basics but they don’t always do them, and obviously these practices are well worth the time. Washing hands is one of the easiest ways to prevent foodborne illnesses, so follow these 5 steps:
• Turn on the water to as hot as you can stand it and wet your hands.
• Apply soap on your wet hands.
• Make sure to scrub between your fingers and up your forearm for at least 20 seconds.
• Rinse your hands thoroughly.
• Don’t dry your hands on the kitchen towel you use to dry dishes, do that and you’ll dirty your clean hands again. Dry hands on a designated hand towel or use a paper towel.
5.Defrost meats properly
Defrosting raw meat and poultry on the counter top will only allow dangerous food bugs to grow. All you need to do is to plan ahead of time and defrost meat 1-2 days in advance in the refrigerator.
6.Wash produce thoroughly
Wash fruit and veggies in cool tap water before eating to eliminate any bacteria. Even items that are supposed to be sliced or peeled must be washed to make sure bacteria isn’t transported to the inside.
7.Wash reusable grocery store bags
If you use reusable grocery bags, it’s important to wash them regularly. It was found that harmful bacteria can stay in your carries and holdup with ready-to-eat foods.
Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian