Did you know that 128,000 Americans are hospitalized every year for food poisoning … or that as we get older we run a greater risk of such diseases?
Age-related changes in the gastrointestinal tract, underlying chronic conditions (diabetes, cancer, etc.), changes in organ function (eg, the liver and kidneys) and side effects caused by medication all contribute to increased caution in food prep at any time of the year. Food poisoning, however, is more common during summer months in which bacteria multiply faster and many people prepare food outdoors, making it more difficult to handle food safely.
The good news? The USDA's four-step food safety plan ̵
Clean : Clean surfaces, utensils and hands with soap and warm water. Wash the hands correctly for 20 seconds and focus on scrubbing your palms, between fingers and fingertips. If you eat outside, check if there is a source of drinkable (safe drinking) water. If this is not the case, bring water for preparation and cleaning or pack clean, wet, disposable washcloths, wet wipes, and paper towels for cleaning hands and surfaces.
Separately : separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from ready-to-eat foods, fruits and vegetables. Raw meat juices can contain bacteria that can now cross and contaminate ready-made food. If you use a cooler, pack raw meat and poultry safely and separately to keep their juices away from other food in the cooler.
Cooking : cook food to a safe internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. You cannot use color only as an indicator of doneness. Always take a food thermometer with you to check whether meat and poultry are safe to eat.
- Prepare raw steak, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops and roasts up to 145 ° F. For safety and quality, allow the meat to rest for at least three minutes before slicing or consuming.
- Boil raw ground beef, pork, lamb and veal to 160 ° F.
- Boil raw poultry to 165 ° F.
- Reheat cooked food to 165 ° F.
Note : boil meat and poultry completely at the grill place . Partial cooking of food in advance allows bacteria to survive and multiply to the point that subsequent cooking cannot destroy them.
Chill : Store perishable food, such as cold cuts, cooked meat, chicken and potato salad or pasta salads, outside in an isolated cooler, packed with a few centimeters of ice, ice packs, or containers with frozen water during warm months. . Save the cooler's cold temperature by replenishing the ice when it starts to melt and keep the cooler in the coolest part of the car when traveling. Cool food within two hours after cooking, or within one hour after cooking if the temperature is 90 ° F or higher during the summer.
If you have questions about food safety, you can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline on 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist in English or Spanish on AskKaren.gov available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Monday to Friday. Ask Karen also provides automated food safety information 24/7.
Bio: Adam Ghering is a Public Affairs Specialist, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
Want more info and news? Like us on Facebook!