Although America’s food supply is one of the safest in the world, millions of Americans suffer from some type of foodborne illness each year. Farmers, manufacturers, supermarkets and restaurants follow strict rules and regulations to help ensure safe and wholesome food for consumers. And they are closely monitored by government officials, as well as industry and trade organizations. New procedures and safeguards continue to be implemented.
These procedures end, however, when food goes into your shopping cart or car, or is delivered to your home or workplace. Most of the reported illnesses related to ‘‘bad food’’ are due to bacterial contamination. And nearly all the cases can be linked to improper food handling. This means they could have been prevented.
Buy It Cold, Keep It Cold
- Choose packages that are cold and tightly wrapped without tears or punctures.
- Buy beef at the end of your shopping trip to ensure it stays cold.
- Take food straight to the refrigerator.
- Freeze fresh meat immediately if you can't use it within two days.
- Defrost in the refrigerator or by using a microwave.
- Ground beef must be cooked to an internal temperature of 160F degrees, or until both the juices and the center are no longer pink.
- Never eat raw or rare ground beef.
- Roasts and steaks can be eaten at medium rare because bacteria, found only on the outside or surface of the meat, are destroyed during cooking.
Soap And Water Save The Day
- Wash your hands, work surface and utensils thoroughly with hot, soapy water after contact with raw meat.
- Do not place cooked meat on a plate or cutting board that was used to hold raw meat unless the surface is sanitized with hot, soapy water.