Food-borne illness can be prevented with the right hygiene and food handling smarts. Avoid exposing your family to illness with these tips.
Step 1: Wash your hands Wash your hands well with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, after using the toilet or changing a diaper, or picking up after your dog.
TIP: Be wary of touching reptiles, amphibians, and birds. If you do touch, wash hands immediately or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Step 2: Separate food preparation Use different utensils, cutting boards, and dishware to prepare raw meat and eggs. Never use the same utensil or dish for raw and cooked food unless you wash it first with warm soapy water.
Step 3: Sanitize surfaces Use paper towels and antibacterial cleaner or bleach to clean surfaces exposed to raw meat or eggs.
TIP: Wash cloth kitchen rags and sponges often in the hot cycle of your washing machine or dishwasher to kill germs.
Step 4: Cook food to safe temperatures Cook food well enough to kill any bacteria. Use a clean food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of meat, poultry, casseroles, and other foods to make sure they have reached a safe minimum temperature. For instance, poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 5: Avoid raw eggs Steer clear of foods made with raw or undercooked eggs, such as raw cookie dough, homemade ice cream, and homemade eggnog. If you must eat raw eggs, ensure that they have been pasteurized.
Step 6: Refrigerate promptly Store promptly any leftover foods in the refrigerator. While safe food handling takes a bit of effort, the payoff in avoiding a potential harmful stomach bug is worth it!
FACT: 80 salmonella cases were reported in Subway sandwich shops in a 2010 outbreak involving 26 Illinois counties.