Don’t let salmonella get funky with your chicken! Food bourne illnesses are a serious matter. Taking precautions around your kitchen, your fridge and your family can help put into place habits that will ensure smooth sailing during food prep!
The FDA has FOUR main components of food safety:
1. CLEAN: Wash hands and surfaces often
Washing your surfaces is an absolutely essential step in combating food bourne issues. Bacteria can be spread throughout the kitchen and get onto hands, cutting boards, utensils, counter tops and food. Think of all the doorknobs, the cabinet and silverware you touch while prepping your raw products. Washing your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food is a good habit to create. Make sure to wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils before placing a new food on them.
2. SEPARATE: Separate raw meats from other foods
Don’t place your organic chicken breast on top of carrots your about to peel – that’s just not a good idea! Handling raw products (like meat, poultry, seafood and eggs) can result in cross contamination. Make sure to keep raw items away from ready to eat foods. Remember to clean countertops and to separate foods in the fridge, your grocery cart and reusable bags. We suggest keeping a washable bag on hand for grocery shopping. We showcase a lot of marinades on this blog – but just make sure you don’t reuse them used on raw foods unless you bring them to a boil first.
3. COOK: Cook to the right temperatures
Cooking! Our favorite part! We want to cook so that food reaches a safe temperature. When that happens, the internal temperature will kill the harmful bacteria that causes illnesses. We’ve said it before (and we’ll say it again!): use a food thermometer! For the love of all that is holy, just use it! You can see if your food is up to snuff without having to rely on a hope and a prayer. Peace of mind is delicious!
4. CHILL: Refrigerate foods promptly
While we love hanging on to those leftovers we just “knew we were gonna eat,” make sure you don’t overstuff the refrigerator. Cold air must circulate to help keep food safe. Keeping a constant refrigerator temperature of 40ºF or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. According to the FDA, “refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, seafood and other perishables within 2 hours of cooking or purchasing. Refrigerate within 1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90ºF.
Curious about defrosting meat? We have a handy guide for you in a previous post.
For more info on this subject, see the FDA’s guide on safe food handling.