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If in doubt, throw it out – Food safety

“First In First Out”
“If in Doubt, Throw it Out”
“Keep Cold Foods Cold & Hot Foods Hot”

These are some phrases I remember from my Foods courses during my Dietetics training.  I have been teased for throwing milk out a day early of the expiration date or for throwing deli meat out because it looks slimy. With all the family gatherings and parties during the holidays, food safety should be a priority to all.

Where does food safety start?  Hand Washing!  In our home, we teach the boys to sing Happy Birthday 2 times (for the 15 second recommendation).  It is fun to hear who they are singing Happy Birthday to when they sing it out loud.

How to avoid cross-contamination?

  • Keep uncooked foods separate from cooked.
  • Don’t reuse the raw meat plate for the cooked meat.
  • Wash the plastic cutting boards between cuttings of different foods. Consider colored boards for beef, chicken and even produce.
  • Wash the produce before cutting (and eating).

What is the best way to thaw foods? Bacteria thrive in the Danger Zone (40- 140 degrees Fahrenheit). By following these thawing guidelines, you can decrease your chance for food borne illness in your house.

Did you know there are guidelines for food safety? Cook and hold foods at the recommended temperatures by following these food safety guidelines – especially convenient with a smart phone or computer nearby to quickly answer food safety questions. Does your kitchen have a food thermometer?

How long can you hold onto leftovers? Especially at the holiday season, enjoy the good leftovers!  Know how long to keep them and when to throw them out! Also, check out this free food safety app from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Is My Food Safe?

What do those dates on the packages mean? According to USDA:

  • If product has a “use-by” date, follow that date.
  • If product has a “sell-by” date or no date, cook or freeze the product by the times on the following chart.\


Source: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/fact_sheets/Food_Product_Dating/index.asp#4

More blogging on food safety from Dayton Children’s: How to Thaw a Turkey; E. Coli Outbreaks Highlights Need for Food Safety

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.