Nutrition Notes: Keep Your Food Safe

The food we eat is our fuel, our sustenance. Food can get spoiled, which makes it unappetizing, not as nutritious and even dangerous to our health. Consuming spoiled food can cause food-borne illnesses including food poisoning and botulism, which can be fatal.

Older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and people with kidney disease, cancer, diabetes or AIDS are more susceptible to food-borne illnesses. So how do we keep food safe and unspoiled, so as to get all the goodness it has to offer without getting sick?

Here are some suggestions to keep food safe:

– Wash your hands thoroughly before, during and after preparing and handling foods.

– Wash produce thoroughly before us.

– Cook meat, poultry and seafood to proper temperature.

– Thaw food in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave – but not on the counter.

– Do not consume raw eggs or food containing raw eggs like cookie dough.

– Replace dish rags and sponges periodically, while sanitizing them daily.

– Perishable foods (including cooked food, produce, meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and milk) need to be stored by refrigerating or freezing. If refrigerated, perishable foods need to be
consumed in a few days.

– Semi-perishable foods (like flour, grain products, dried fruit and dry mixes) can be safely stored up to 6-12 months.

– Non-perishable foods (like sugar, dried beans, spices and canned foods) do not spoil if handled and stored properly, but they may lose quality over a long period of time.

– Leftovers should be stored in shallow, airtight containers for rapid cooling and preventing the spread of bacteria.

– Refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible – there is no need to cool leftovers to room temperature before refrigerating them.

Some useful tips on how to handle and buy food safely can be found. Just click here.

This September, let’s start keeping our foods safe and disease-free, while celebrating Food Safety Education Month!

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References:

1. http://www.eatright.org/resource/homefoodsafety/safety-tips/food-poisoning/food-safety-facts-and-figures

2. http://www.eatright.org/resource/homefoodsafety/safety-tips/food-poisoning/10-common-food-safety-mistakes

3. http://food.unl.edu/food-storage

4. http://www.eatright.org/resource/homefoodsafety/safety-tips/food-poisoning/food-safety-start-at-the-store