Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tips On Food Handling

  • Avoid cross contamination.  Wash your hands every time beforecoming into contact with food.  Wash hands/utensils after handling rawmeat, fish, or poultry.  
  • Wash your hands often.  Use soap and water to wash, and papertowels or clean cloth towels to dry your hands.  Research has proven thatfrequent hand washing is the most effective way to prevent food-borneillnesses.
  • Keep perishable foods refrigerated or frozen until they areused.  Thaw frozen items in the refrigerator, under cold running water, ora microwave (as part of the continuing cooking process).  Marinate food inthe refrigerator.
  • Make sure the temperature in your refrigerator is below 40 degreesF.  Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator and check it often. Adjust the thermostat to a cooler setting if necessary.
  • Examine foods and all date labeling.  Buy foods with thelongest period to the expiration date.  Don't buy food items if thepackaging is damaged.  Throw away foods that don’t look and smellfresh.  A change in the odor or appearance of foods is often a sign ofspoilage.  Throw away eggs with cracked shells.
  • Be sure cutting boards and knives are thoroughly scrubbed and washedwith soapy water after each use.  These items can easily transferdisease-causing bacteria from raw meats and poultry to vegetables, fruit, orcooked meat.  Use different cutting boards for raw and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Don’t use marinades that have come into contact with raw meat orpoultry as dips or for basting.  If you want to use the marinade for thesepurposes, boil it first or prepare a separate portion for that use.
  • Store raw meat, poultry, and fish in the meat drawer of yourrefrigerator or in tightly sealed plastic bags to prevent juices from leakingonto other foods.  Thaw frozen meats, fish and poultry in a pan on thelowest shelf so that juices won't drip on other foods.
  • Cover ready-to-eat foods in the fridge to protect them fromcross-contamination by raw meats or unclean surfaces.
  • Use effective and protective plastics for freezing foods.
  • Use a meat thermometer to be sure meats are thoroughly cooked,especially ground meats from combined sources, like hamburger.  Beef, lamband pork should reach an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees F. Juices should run clear and there should be no sign of pink inside themeat.  Poultry should reach an internal temperature of 170 (breasts) to180 (whole birds and thighs) degrees F.  The US Department of Agriculture(USDA) has a safe cooking temperature chart on their website. (exit DHS)
  • Cook all seafood.  Avoid eating raw fish, raw clams, oysters,and mussels.  The US Food and Drug Administration recommends cookingseafood to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F for 15 seconds.
  • Cook eggs until the whites are firm and the yolks begin toharden.  Don’t eat foods that contain raw eggs such as cookie dough, eggdressings, eggnog, or homemade mayonnaise.  Pasteurized egg products areavailable that can be used safely to prepare these foods.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold until they are served. To prevent illness hot foods should be held at 140 degrees F or higher and coldfoods should be held at 40 degrees F or lower until they are served.
  • Cool foods rapidly before storage.  If you are preparing largequantities of food for later use, cool the food rapidly.  Some methodsinclude: placing the container in an ice-water bath, dividing the food intoseveral small containers before refrigerating, including ice as an ingredient,stirring with an ice wand, and providing greater air circulation around theproduct container.

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