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  • Writer's pictureShannon Roussy

Food Safety Guidelines

Proper food safety begins at the grocery store. It's important that shop for your nonperishable items first to eliminate the amount of time that refrigerated or frozen items are sitting out. Be sure to always check the Use By/Sell By date as well as ensure that all packages are not torn or leaking.

Once you get home, all perishable items need to be put back in the fridge right away. These items should never be sitting out longer than 2 hours. If you aren't going to cook meats within 2 days, they should be put into the freezer. You also want to store meats on the bottom shelf with like foods so that if they do leak from the package, it will not contaminate other foods.

Before you begin to cook, always wash your hands and ensure the surfaces you will be using are also clean. Keep raw meats away from other food, and wash surfaces using hot water and soap. After any time you touch raw meat, you need to wash your hands as well as anything else you might have touched.

If you're marinating meat, ensure that it is in a covered container in the fridge. When you're ready to cook meat, the safest way to ensure it is cooked properly, is to use a meat thermometer. Many meat thermometers state the temperature as well as type of meat. However, you can utilize the chart below for further reference. It's also important to wash the thermometer with hot soapy water if you're going to use it again, even if it is the same piece of meat.

When storing leftovers or after meal prepping, use shallow containers for hot food and immediately put into fridge or freezer. Any food that has been left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours needs to be discarded.

I also wanted to note, that many people have been taught that they should wash meats like chicken before cooking. The USDA and CDC strongly urge against this as washing meat transfers the bacteria into the sink and does not actually eliminate it from the meat itself. If you do rinse your meat off, be sure to immediately sterilize your sink with hot water and 1 tablespoon of bleach solution. The last thing you want is for your sink to be the culprit of spreading the bacteria you were trying to eliminate.

More information can be found on the USDA website

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