National Nutrition Month, Week 3: Food Safety

By Caitlyn Talbert, 2018 Dietetic Intern [Sodexo]

Photo credit: Flickr/iamsj

For week 3 of National Nutrition Month, we bring you some notes on food safety.

Part of what allows us to “go further with food” involves proper storage and preparation methods. This is a slightly less excitable topic for some, but important and essential to health. According to The Centers for Disease Control, an estimated one in six Americans become sick from food-borne illnesses each year. While many of these illnesses are of no serious, life-threatening concern, some can be quite debilitating and even deadly.

The good news is that a lot of risk associated with food-borne illness is preventable and can be mitigated right in your own home! Here are our top five tips to ensure the safety of your food:

  1. Wash your hands! Make sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after meal preparation, after handling meat, poultry or eggs and before eating.
  2. Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods within two hours. Pathogens are known to multiply at far lower rates when stored at a temperature of 40 degrees F or less.
  3. Store raw meats, poultry and seafood under your ready to eat foods. Ensuring these items are stored at the bottom of your refrigerator prevents the raw juices dripping on other refrigerated items and contaminating them.
  4. Be mindful of your kitchen tools. When preparing raw meats, poultry, and other possible contaminating foods, make sure knives cutting boards, etc. are only used only for those items or are sanitized before all other use.
  5. Thaw foods in the refrigerator or under cold running water. While it can be tempting to leave items to warm on the countertop, this method has been proven to increase risk and lead to possible contamination.

For more information on food-borne pathogens and safe food preparations, visit http://www.eatright.org/resources/food-safety-tips.


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