Treat It Right: Food Safety

Did you know that home cooking causes more food-borne illness than restaurant food? The culprits are usually raw meat and eggs, but produce and canned foods can cause problems, too.

  • Shop smart. Never let juices from raw meat touch other groceries. Avoid canned goods with dents, cracks or bulging lids.

  • Wash up. Wash all produce before you slice it.

  • Thoroughly clean any surfaces touched by meat.

  • Cook thoroughly. Red meat should reach at least 145 degrees F (rare); ground beef should reach 165 degrees F; poultry, 180 degrees F. Cook eggs until the whites aren't runny and yolks begin to firm up.

  • Use separate utensils for cooking and serving.

  • Respect leftovers. Use them within three to five days. Reheat sauces, soups and gravy to a boil.

  • Clean up. Do the dishes right away. Wash dishtowels and dishcloths in hot water and bleach. Clean surfaces with one tablespoon bleach in one gallon of water.

Quick quiz

1. How long can you thaw frozen food on the counter?

2. How cold should you keep the refrigerator?

3. How does spoiled food taste?


1. Always thaw food in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Alternatively, food can be rapidly thawed in the microwave if used immediately after thawing.

2. Ideally, 37 degrees F, with the freezer at or below 0 degrees F.

3. Don't taste questionable food. If it looks or smells strange, toss it. Throw out any can that is bulging without opening it.

Medical Reviewer: [Fiveash, Laura DrPH, MPH, RD, Godsey, Cynthia M.S., M.S.N., APRN, Happel, Cindy MEd, RD, Harrell, Jennifer MA, RD, LD, Lambert, J.G. M.D.] Last Annual Review Date: 2009-10-29T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright: Copyright Health Ink & Vitality Communications

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