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Eating healthy is very important. Making sure to follow simple food safety practices in your everyday life amplify the benefits from your healthy diet and prevent food-borne illness.
Here are some tips from Attune Health nutritionist and research associate Natalie Fortune to get you started!
1. Remember to wash your hands.
Wet hands with clean running water and apply soap. Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all parts of the hand for 20 seconds. Make sure to wash the back of your hands as well. Rinse hands thoroughly and dry using a clean paper towel.
2. Sanitize your work surface.
Surfaces should be washed with hot, soapy water. A solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water can be used to sanitize surfaces, including the insides of your sink. Clean the inside and the outside of appliances.
Pay attention to buttons and handles, where cross-contamination can occur!
3. Clean out old foods weekly!
At least once a week, throw out refrigerated foods that are past expiration. Cooked leftovers should be discarded after 4 days; raw poultry and ground meats, 1 to 2 days.
4. Rinse your produce!
Rinse fresh vegetables and fruits under running water just before eating, cutting, or cooking. Even if you plan to peel or cut the produce before eating, it is important to thoroughly rinse it first.
Washing your produce in a baking soda and water solution may also help to remove pesticides.
5. Separate your foods.
Place raw seafood, meat, and poultry in plastic bags away from raw produce. Store them below food that is already ready to eat, never above. Moreover, always use a clean cutting board for fresh produce, and a separate clean one for raw seafood, meat, and poultry.
Another critical thing to be mindful of while preparing a meal is to never place cooked food back on the same plate or cutting board that previously held raw food. Also, never use a marinade that had raw seafood, meat, or poultry as sauce without cooking it.
When shopping for meat and/or poultry, never purchase items that have torn packaging. Also, be mindful of expiration dates! Never buy or use food past the “sell by” or “use by” dates on the label.
6. Use a food thermometer while cooking.
When used properly, a food thermometer can be an incredibly helpful tool when preparing a meal. It can be utilized to ensure that food is safely cooked and that cooked food is held at a proper temperature until consumed
Food thermometers can be used as an effective method of preventing illness, specifically by checking the internal temperature of seafood, meat, poultry, and egg dishes.
Don’t know the proper temperatures to cook foods? Natalie has some fundamental guidelines:
7. Store foods at safe temperatures.
Hold cold foods at 40 °F or below. Keep hot foods at 140 °F or above. Foods that are kept in the danger zone of 40 °F to 140 °F for more than 2 hours are no longer safe to consume.
8. Do not leave food on the counter when thawing them! Use one of these methods instead:
9. Be alert for local, national, and international food recalls or alerts.
10. Put leftovers in the fridge as soon as possible – within 2 hours.
If you leave leftovers out for too long at room temperature, bacteria can quickly multiply, turning your delightful dish into a food poisoning disaster. Store leftovers in containers with lids that can be snapped tightly shut.
If you are freezing leftovers, freeze them in one- or two-portion servings, so they’ll be easy to take out of the freezer, pop in the microwave, and eat. For best quality, eat frozen leftovers within 2 months.