How To Keep Family Safe From HARM…

August 7, 2007

Safety is of paramount importance to us especially our kids.  With the news surrounding us regarding safety concerns of products made in China from too much formalin in certain package foods to lead content in kids toys…it is but prudent to also be vigilant with regard to food safety in our own homes.

Here are some tips that I got from the Harvard Health Letter that I want to share and hopefully help us make our home safer. Here is a summary of some of the problematic bacteria you want to protect your family from include:

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E. coli. This bacterium, found mainly in ground beef, causes an estimated 25,000 cases of food poisoning in the United States each year and kills about 100 people. Some people infected with E. coli suffer permanent kidney damage. Contamination occurs during meat processing, when E. coli from the animals’ intestines becomes mixed in with the meat.

Salmonella. This bacterium is found mostly in meat and eggs. But it spreads to other foods, such as ice cream and fruit, when they are shipped with contaminated meat or eggs.

Campylobacter. This bacterium is especially common in poultry. Antibiotic-resistant strains are becoming more prevalent because of the widespread use of antibiotics in chicken feed. In a 2001 report in the New England Journal of Medicine, 17% of chickens sampled in supermarkets in four states had campylobacter strains that were resistant to antibiotics.

You can prevent most cases of food poisoning in your household by preparing and storing your foods safely.

  • Rinse foods. Rinsing can wash off some germs from meat, poultry, and fish and pesticide residues from produce. Rinse all meat, poultry, and fish under running water before cooking. Rinse all fruits and vegetables under running water before cooking or serving them.
  • Wash your hands. Frequent handwashing helps prevent you from passing germs from one food to another. Use soap and water to wash your hands each time you handle a raw food. Don’t wipe your hands on a dishtowel without washing them first.
  • Use separate utensils. Don’t prepare meat and fish on the same surface that you use for other foods — otherwise, you risk contaminating those foods with bacteria from the meat and fish. Use one cutting board for meats and fish and a second one for produce. Be sure to wash the cutting boards with soap and water after each use. Use different knives to cut different foods to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Cooking. Cook all meat, poultry, eggs, and freshwater fish. Don’t rely on color alone to indicate whether meat is fully cooked. The USDA recommends that everyone use a meat thermometer. Different temperatures are required to kill off germs in different kinds of meat. It’s also important to cook hot dogs and other precooked meats and fish, to destroy bacteria that may have contaminated them in the processing plants.
  • Storing. Don’t leave any foods, before or after cooking, at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour if the air temperature is above 90° F). Put them in the refrigerator or freezer. The temperature inside your refrigerator should be 40° F or below; your freezer should be at 0° F or below.
  • Divide The Leftovers. If you have large amounts of leftovers, divide them into small batches when you put them away in the refrigerator or freezer. That way, the temperature of each batch will reach a safe level faster. Keep in mind that freezing does not necessarily kill bacteria; wash meats and poultry thoroughly after thawing, and handle them the same as you would fresh meats. 

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Watch the things we buy…Plan ahead the meals we’ll serve and be sure to follow simple rules of home safety. 

Remember as mentioned in my previous post to avoid storing your leftover foods in take- away plastic containers because they have been shown to be harmful if reused! 

Just a simple reminder to keep us all from harm….

Plan and Ban The Harm! 

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