Handle with care…

While raw meats and eggs are the most common sources of illness-causing microbes, fresh fruits and vegetables can also carry organisms that cause food poisoning.

Keep raw meats and fish away from other foods, especially those that won’t be cooked. Thaw frozen meats in the refrigerator, microwave oven, or under cold running water, never on a counter.

Wash all produce before it’s used, even if it looks clean. Produce that won’t be peeled, such as strawberries or green onions, can be washed in plain water. If necessary, use a scrub brush to remove surface dirt. Wash lettuce leaves individually. Produce that will be peeled or eaten off the rind, such as oranges or cantaloupes, should be washed on the outside with soapy water and rinsed well.

Use paper towels and soapy hot water to clean utensils, counter surfaces, and cutting boards immediately after preparing raw meats and fish. If you use sponges, place them in the upper rack of the dishwasher. Wash hands, faucets, and anything else that may have been touched.

Do not under cook foods…

Thorough cooking will kill most germs. To make sure foods get hot enough, check the internal temperature by inserting a food thermometer in the thickest part.

Meats: Cook beef, pork, steaks and roasts to at least 130°F, lamb to 160°F, and poultry to 180°F for thigh meat and 170°F for breasts. Ground beef, pork, veal, and lamb should be cooked to at least 160°F, and ground poultry to 165°F.

Seafood: Cook fish until it flakes with a fork. Simmer shrimp for three to five minutes or until the flesh turns pinkish and opaque. Steam clams and mussels for 5 to 10 minutes or until the shells open (if they don’t, toss them out). Cook oysters until they plump, for about 5 minutes. Do not eat raw oysters.

Eggs: Do not use homemade foods containing raw eggs, such as mayonnaise and Caesar-salad dressing. Commercial versions are okay, since manufacturers use heat-treated eggs. Use hardboiled eggs within two to three days of cooking

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