Did you know that one in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning this year alone?
This problem is more serious than many people realize. Food poisoning not only sends more than 100,000 Americans to the hospital each year – it can also have long-term health consequences.
But, following four simple steps can help keep your family safe from food poisoning at home.
Check out our Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill pages to see the most effective ways to help keep your family safe from food poisoning.
SEPARATE Raw Meats from Other Foods to Keep Your Family Safer From Food Poisoning
preventing a sneaky food safety hazard that can happen at many points between purchasing and eating food: cross-contamination.
Cross-contamination occurs when juices from uncooked foods come in contact with safely cooked foods, or with other raw foods that don’t need to be cooked, like fruits and vegetables. The juices from some raw foods, like meats and seafood, can contain harmful bacteria that could make you and your family sick.
- Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods in your shopping cart and on the way home. The shrink-wrapped containers may leak, so place them in plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping onto other foods.
In the refrigerator:
- Place raw meat, poultry and seafood in containers, on plates or in sealed plastic bags to prevent their juices from dripping onto other foods.
- Store eggs in their original carton and refrigerate as soon as possible.
When preparing food:
- Use hot, soapy water and clean paper towels or clean cloths to wipe up kitchen spills, and wash cloths often using the hot cycle of your washing machine.
- If possible, use one cutting board for meat, poultry and seafood and another one for fruits and vegetables. Otherwise, wash cutting boards, dishes and counter tops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item.
- Always use a clean cutting board, and replace cutting boards that have become excessively worn.
- Marinate food in the refrigerator, following the above storage guidelines. Reserve a clean portion of marinade for using on cooked meat, poultry, and seafood. To reuse marinade that held raw food, bring it to a boil before using it on cooked food.
When serving food:
- Never place cooked food back on the same plate or cutting board that previously held raw food unless the plate has been washed first in hot, soapy water.
- Likewise, never serve cooked food with the same utensils that handled raw food, unless they have been washed first in hot, soapy water. This means taking two sets of plates and utensils out to the barbecue grill—one set for handling the raw food, and the other for removing cooked food from the heat.
Food Safe Families: Reduce Food Poisoning
The start of summer and grilling season is when foodborne illnesses tend to increase with more outdoor meals and other factors that increase the risk for disease-causing bacteria in food.
“Check Your Steps” when preparing food:
- Clean: Clean kitchen surfaces, utensils, and hands with soap and water while preparing food.
- Separate: Separate raw meats from other foods by using different cutting boards.
- Cook: Cook foods to the right temperature by using a food thermometer.
- Chill: Chill raw and prepared foods promptly.
Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill: Food Safe Families simplifies and updates safe food handling recommendations to shift the way people think about food poisoning risk and prevention