Mary Fetzer is a freelance writer and marketing consultant with a marketing degree from Penn State University and 15 years of international business experience. Mary specializes in writing about parenting, children, pregnancy, college, h...
Every year, an estimated 48 million people in the U.S. experience a foodborne illness. Fortunately, with good kitchen practices, you can prevent foodborne illnesses from attacking your family.
A foodborne illness affects the gastrointestinal tract and is caused by food or drinks that contain harmful bacteria. Though the illness typically lasts a short time, the symptoms are nasty: vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever and chills. Brace yourself against harmful bacteria every time you handle food:
Keep your hands clean
Wash your hands often, especially after using the bathroom, after changing a baby or having handling a pet or pet/items.
Wash your hands before and after handling food.
Wash your hands when moving from one food prep item to another.
Maintain a clean kitchen
Wash countertops and other kitchen surfaces before and after food preparation.
Always wash meats and poultry before preparing.
Wash all produce, paying particular attention to those that will be eaten raw.
Wash your sink and faucet after cleaning your food prep surfaces.
Protect your kitchen and food from insects, pests and animals.
Handle raw food with care
Separate raw eggs, meat, poultry and seafood from each other and from other foods.
Wash utensils and cutting board when moving from one food to another.
Utilize containers and baggies to avoid contact between raw and cooked foods.
Cook foods thoroughly
Use safe or treated water for cooking.
Make sure foods — particularly eggs, meat, poultry and seafood — are cooked thoroughly. Meat and poultry juices should be clear, not pink.
Bring soups and stews to a full boil to ensure that they’ve reached the appropriate temperature.
Reheat cooked food thoroughly.
Serve cooked foods hot.
Refrigerate fresh and cooked foods
Refrigerate cooked and perishable foods promptly — do not leave them at room temperature for more than two hours. Refrigerate even sooner in warm temperatures.
Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator. Do not thaw at room temperature.
Be aware of purchase dates. Cook meat and poultry within three days of purchasing or removing from freezer.
Be aware of expiration dates. Do not use products after their expiry date.
Do not store foods— cooked or raw — for too long, even when refrigerated