Health Beat: Basics of Food Safety

Content by: NCES, Inc.

Food safety is more than just washing our fruits and vegetables before you eat them. If not careful, bacteria can take up residence in not just fruits and vegetables, but in our canned goods, surfaces and containers. It is important to understand how to take manage the risk of food borne illnesses.

Health Beat:  Basics of Food Safety
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Kitchen Food Safety. Keeping your kitchen safe from germs and bacteria is simple. Wash surfaces and utensils with clean, soapy water or disinfectant before and after you use them to prepare foods. Raw meat is of particular concern, as the juices can leave behind bacteria that can cause food borne illnesses. It’s also best when handling raw meat to use paper towel or a clean wash cloth. Don't conserve on food safety. If using paper towels, wipe and throw. If using cloth towels, wash after each meal preparation.

Food Safety at the Grocery Store. Safe food shopping practices are important. Think about your path through the grocery store. Start shopping in the non-perishable aisles first and then move to the fresh produce, diary, meat and frozen foods last. If buying fresh meats, leave a space in your cart for meat, with some separation from the other foods. Check canned goods for signs of denting or bulging. The dents and bulges can be an indication of harbor bacteria.

Picnic/Outdoor Food Safety. Food safety at a picnic is easy, if you remember the three C’s. Keep your food clean, cold and covered. Be sure to cover raw meats when transporting them, this way the juices don’t drip on other foods in the cooler. Keep raw foods separate from the ready to eat with foods along with their serving utensils. Cross contamination is a very good way to spread bacteria. Keep as many food items on ice and in coolers as much as possible. Leaving foods out in temperatures over 90 degrees for longer than 1 hour is a breeding ground for bacteria.

Food Safety Dining Out. Restaurants have many requirements, related to food safety. Be sure the restaurant you are dining as is up to code with food safety. Observe the environment for food preparation, serving and tableware, as an indication of safety.
Check the CDC Inspection Scores: https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/sitesgovernance/index.html

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