Sunday, March 28, 2010

Safe Food: How Can I Protect My Family

According to an April 2010 article in "Better Homes and Gardens", food borne diseases from bacteria such as E.coli, and salmonella now cause 76 million people to fall ill each year. While several government agencies play a role in monitoring our food, most ow what we eat hasn't been tested before it reaches our plate. The good news is you can avoid most food-borne illness by taking easy, everyday precautions when you cook. Below are some suggest on how you can protect your family from food-borne bacteria:

1. Check expiration dates. Also, buy perishable that have been kept cold and have no obvious bruising or cracks.

2. Opt for local food. By local produce when you can. That is still no guarantee safe. No matter where you shop, pay attention when recalls are announced.

3. Wash you hands. About 20% of us don't remember to wash our hands or kitchen surfaces before preparing food.

4. Don't cross-contaminate. An example would be when bacteria from raw chicken travels to salad greens. Prep produce and ready-to-eat foods first, then handle raw meat or fish. Use separate utensils and cutting boards for each.

5. Clean those utensils. If you need to reuse a plate or knife after it touches raw meat, first clean it with hot soapy water.

6. Wash produce. Use running water and a vegetable brush to scrub firm types, like potatoes.

7. Defrost in fridge. Defrosting it in the fridge keeps the outside cold enough to inhibit the the growth of bacteria.

8. Test for doneness. You can't rely on 20/20 vision when it comes to killing bacteria. For example steaks and roast need to reach 145 degrees F; poultry should hit 165 degree F.


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