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Food Safety Techniques

When it comes to food safety, you may feel like certain things are no brainers, but there are many things you may not know about keeping yourself and your food safe. Bacteria is a large cause of foodborne illness, but it isn’t something you can see, smell, or taste. That is why it is important to follow these food safety steps when purchasing and preparing food.

Food shopping has to be done diligently. Be sure to purchase your refrigerated or frozen foods towards the end of your shopping trip and avoid buying any meat products that have been tampered with. Pay attention to the “sell-by” or “use-by” date. Once you have transported your items home, put refrigerated and frozen items away immediately as they will begin to perish within 2 hours. Make sure meat products are only left in the refrigerator for a maximum of 3 days. To maintain the quality of meat products, wrap them in foil and freeze them. When it comes time to thaw meat, the refrigerator is your best option because it allows for slow and safe thawing.

At time of preparation, always wash your hands thoroughly. Separate your items so you don’t risk cross-contamination. One tip is to use color-coded knives and cutting boards. Be sure to cook all meat items to the correct internal temperature. Remember that different meats have different internal temperature requirements for safety. Perishable food should not be left out for more than 2 hours at a time. If the air temperature is 90 degrees or above, the time limit decreases to 1 hour. When it’s time to assemble leftovers, be sure to immediately place food in the refrigerator for rapid cooling and to consume the cooked leftovers within 3-4 days. Lastly, be sure to always check your thermometers and refrigerator/freezer to be sure they are holding the correct temperatures.

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