Eat Healthy

Safe and Healthy Foods

Is your food safe? Simple things, like washing your hands and taking the temperature of your meat, will help preserve the health and safety of your food and your family. Keep yourself healthy and safe this year by using these tips to keep food safe.
Download Food Safety Tips.

Wash Hands

You should wash your hands for 20 seconds, using warm water and soap. Sing the Alphabet or the Happy Birthday song while you wash (they last about 20 seconds.) Wash your hands frequently during the day, but always wash your hands:

  • After using the bathroom or changing a diaper.
  • Before and after eating or drinking.
  • After tending to a sick person.
  • After handling dirty plates, utensils, kitchen equipment, or garbage.
  • Before and after handling food.
  • After blowing nose, coughing, sneezing or touching your nose, mouth, hair, etc.
  • After handling pets.

Take Temperature of Meats

A thermometer is the only way to tell if your food has reached a high enough temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.

  • Calibrate your thermometer. Fill a glass with ice-water: place thermometer in water - it should read 32 degrees F. Adjust thermometer if needed.
  • Place the thermometer in the thickest part of food. You may need to put the thermometer in sideways in a meat patty.
  • The thermometer should be in food up to the midpoint of the thermometer.
  • Most thermometers will give an accurate reading within 2-4 degrees F .

Keep Cold Foods Cold and Hot Foods Hot

  • When serving food at a buffet, barbeque, etc. keep hot food over a heat source and cold food on ice. Keep food refrigerated or on the stove/grill until time to serve. Carry perishable food with a cold pack or ice. Set the cooler in the shade and open as little as possible.
  • Cut melons are especially vulnerable to bacteria. Cut just before serving or keep refrigerated or on ice.
  • The danger zone is between 40 and 140 degrees F. Bacteria grow most rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees F. Bacteria can double in as little as 20 minutes in this temperature range.
  • Never leave food out of the refrigerator more than two hours. If the temperature is above 90 degrees F., food should be left out no more than one hour.
  • Cool foods rapidly; foods should be cooled from serving temperature to a 40 degree F within four hours (40 degrees F. is the temperature of the food.)
  • Place leftovers in a shallow pan and refrigerate immediately. lf the food is a soup or stew, stir occasionally to help cool. You can also add ice cubes to appropriate foods to cool more quickly.

Avoid Cross-Contamination

Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juice can be spread to other foods, kitchen utensils, and surfaces. This is called cross-contamination. To avoid cross contamination follow these guidelines:

  • Wash hands after handling raw meat or poultry or its packaging. Anything you touch afterwards could become contaminated.
  • Wash counter tops and sinks with hot, soapy water. You can also sanitize.
  • Use separate cutting boards. One for meats; one or raw vegetables. Sanitize the cutting boards you use for raw meats.
  • Use separate plates for raw and cooked foods when barbecuing. One for the raw hamburgers, one for the cooked.

Additional Links:
Find out more about food safety by visiting these links:
www.fsis.usda.gov
www.foodsafety.gov

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