To continue our food safety series during National Nutrition Month, we will be highlighting some basic tips for handling, preparing, cooking, and storing food in order to prevent food borne illnesses. By taking the proper precautions, you can prevent the spread of harmful food-borne bacteria. Remember, food-borne pathogens are difficult to detect with our senses; we cannot see, smell, or taste these bacteria. Safe food handling is important for us all, but even more important for those with compromised immune systems, which can include those undergoing cancer treatment.
Guidelines to Fight Bacteria Appropriately
- Clean: Wash hands before and after handling food. Wash cooking and food prep surfaces often, as well.
- Separate: Avoid cross-contamination and stop the spreading of harmful bacteria. Use separate cutting boards for fresh produce and meat/poultry/seafood.
- Cook: Cook foods to appropriate temperatures in order to kill any bacteria that may exist. Use a thermometer to check for their internal temperature, especially for meat.
- Chill: Refrigerate promptly! Refrigerator temperature should be at around 40°F and perishable food should not be left out in room temperature.
By practicing these four easy rules, you can keep your food and yourself healthy. We will delve into each of these strategies in our future blogs – so stay tuned!