Each year roughly one out of six Americans (that’s 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from food borne diseases. Many of these cases could be prevented with proper food preparation.
It’s important to keep your prep area clean as well as what you’re using to prep with. Be sure to always wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
Cross contamination is the transfer of harmful bacteria to food from other foods, cutting boards, utensils, etc. Raw meat, poultry, fish and their juices should be separated from other foods. After cutting raw meats, it’s vital to wash the cutting board, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water.
All raw beef, pork, lamb, steaks, chops, and roasts should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of at least 145 °F. Higher temperatures are needed for white meats including chicken and ground turkey, these should reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
Keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold is also an important part of safe food preparation. Cold foods should be kept at 40°F or below while hot foods should be kept at 140 °F or above. Foods are no longer safe to eat when they have been 45°F – 135 °F for more than two hours.
Following these simple steps may prevent you or someone you love from falling ill due to a food borne pathogen.