Tips for Food Safety and Storage

Food safety and preparation It's no secret that a balanced diet with plenty of meals prepared at home will improve your family's health. Yet without the right handling and storage techniques, even nutrient-packed super foods can be dangerous to your health. By using these helpful guidelines for food safety, you can feel confident that the food you put on your family’s table is wholesome and safe.

Wash Your Produce

Even when you are going to peel them, you should always wash fresh fruits and vegetables before use. Run produce items under clean water without any detergent or soap. This will wash away potentially harmful bacteria and dirt without adding any unwanted chemicals to your meals. Avoid washing your produce until you are ready to eat it, as the excess water will hasten decomposition.

Refrigerate Perishable Foods Promptly

Perishable food should not remain out of the fridge for more than two hours, as warmer temperatures are highly conducive to the growth of illness-causing bacteria. This is true for both perishable items from the grocery store and foods that have been prepared in your kitchen. When you do refrigerate foods, be sure to discard when their expiration dates pass. Even foods that do not look or smell rotten can harbor harmful bacteria once they have passed their expiration date.

Cook Meats Thoroughly

You have probably read restaurant menus that warn of the dangers of consuming raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs and shellfish. These warnings are no joke, and they remain true when you are cooking at home. Keeping a clean and calibrated meat thermometer handy when you prepare meat and fish in your kitchen will help you prepare these items perfectly every time.

Prevent Cross-Contamination

When it comes to cutting boards, two are better than one. Ideally you should have one surface you use for cutting raw meat, seafood and poultry, and a separate cutting board for fresh produce and bread. Using two boards will prevent bacteria from food that needs further cooking from contaminating ready-to-eat items.