These tips for defrosting dinner, avoiding cross contamination while preparing foods, cooking entrees throughly, and eating hot foods while they're hot will help ensure there won't be any food-related tummy aches in your home.
Here's what you need to know to keep your family safe at meal times.
Defrosting food in the refrigerator: Thaw frozen meat overnight; large cuts may take longer to defrost so figure that into your meal planning.
Counter top/sink thawing: Place meat in a watertight plastic bag and submerge in the sink (or a bowl of) cold
water. Change the water every 30 minutes.
Cook thawed items or refrigerate promptly once they've reached room temperature.
Microwave defrosting: Simply use the defrost setting, then finish cooking immediately.
2. Safety Tips for Preparing Dinner
Wipe cooking surfaces clean with hot, soapy water before and after cooking. Rinse the surfaces thoroughly; dry with paper towels.
Wash hands (with soap and hot, running water) regularly. And always before preparing food and after touching raw meat.
Wear rubber gloves. This is especially important if your hands have cuts or abrasions.
Use separate cutting boards for meats and non-meats. Or, disinfect with mild bleach solution between uses of the cutting board.
When pounding chicken or meat, cover with a layer of plastic wrap. This will help to avoid splattering juices onto other foods and surfaces.
Wash all knives and utensils that have touched raw meat in hot, soapy water. This will keep these items from transferring bacteria from uncooked meat onto veggies and other foods.
Keep drippings from raw meat away from other foods. Immediately
wash such drippings from the counter tops or cutting board. Disinfect
these surfaces after contact with raw meat or the juice from
raw meats, fish or chicken.
Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating or cooking them. To rid them most effectively of germs and pesticide residue, wash under
clear running water with a few drops of hand dish-washing soap added;
then rinse thoroughly and dry.
3. Cook Food to Safe Interior Temperatures
Cook dinner to these internal temperatures to ensure food safety when preparing the family meal:
Beef, veal lamb (steaks and roasts): 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees C)
Fish: 140 degrees F (60 degrees C)
Ground beef: 160 degrees F (83 degrees C)
Poultry: 180 degrees F (83 degrees C)
Pork: 160 degrees F (72 degrees C)
4. Eat While It's Hot
Eat hot foods while they're still hot; cold foods while they're still cold. Date leftovers and use them promptly. If in doubt about freshness,
toss it out. It's not worth the risk to your family's health.
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