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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foodborne illness, sometimes called food poisoning, is a common, costly - yet preventable
- public health problem. Each year, about one in six Americans get sick, due to a foodborne illness. Everyone is at risk for food poisoning, but you can reduce your risk if you know
what to do. Food poisoning can happen anywhere, to anyone, and from foods we might
It doesn’t have to happen, though. Many cases could be avoided if people just handled
food properly. So here’s what to do.
Check the temperature of your refrigerator with an appliance thermometer. You can
buy one of these at most stores that sell housewares. To keep bacteria in check, the
refrigerator should run at 40°F, the freezer unit at 0°F. Keep your refrigerator as
cold as possible without freezing your milk or lettuce.
Refer to the cold food storage chart.
Researchers at Drexel University have shown that it is best to move meat and poultry
straight from package to pan, since the heat required for cooking will kill any bacteria
that may be present.
But what about a whole turkey? USDA does not recommend washing a whole turkey before
you cook your Thanksgiving meal. You are likely to spread germs around your kitchen
if you do so. The only reason a whole turkey (or any meat or poultry for that matter)
should be washed is if it was brined. Thanksgiving cooks who are purchasing a brined
turkey, or brining their turkeys at home, must rinse the brine off before the turkey
goes into the oven.
If you plan on brining a turkey this year learn how to minimize the risk of of cross contamination.
It takes thorough cooking to kill harmful bacteria, so you’re taking chances when
you eat meat, poultry, fish or eggs that are raw or only partially cooked.
Refer to the safe minimum cooking temperature chart.
A great time saver, but the microwave has one food safety disadvantage: It sometimes
leaves cold spots in food. Bacteria can survive in these spots, so follow these guidelines
to keep your food safe.
For more info see USDA: Leftovers and Food Safety.
Sometimes foods get forgotten in the refrigerator and may be kept too long.