With the high number of food borne illnesses mentioned regularly in the news, reminding individuals, families, and food service staff about the basics of food safety is very important. Every time we turn around there are new cases of E. coli, listeria, salmonella, or foods that have been contaminated by potential allergens. What are the basic things that we can all do to be safe? Here are the foundation basics for food safety:
- Clean – Keep hands, surfaces, dishes, equipment, and floors in preparation space, dishtowels, and even napkins clean.
- Separate – Ensure that cooked and uncooked foods do not come in contact; meats and produce are separate, and clean and dirty surfaces.
- Cook – Use thermometers to meet proper cooking temperatures. The US Department of Health and Human Services has great charts to help us know how long, what temperature, and the final temperature the food needs to reach for everything from a hamburger to a turkey. Check them out at: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/index.html
- Chill – Use coolers or ice for items that are transported or out, chill down left-overs after a meal, and use frozen gel packets or frozen drink packs to keep packed lunches cold.
The basic reminders for Food Safety Month are good tips for any season – keep things clean, separate meats and produce, cook to proper temperatures, and chill down those leftovers! #FoodSafetyMonth
Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.
Reviewer: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.