November 20, 2019
It is the time of the year where many holidays and events will be celebrated with gatherings of family, friends and food. With all the hecticness, do not forget about keeping your food safe. The last thing you want is to have friends and family sick, unable to enjoy the festivities.
Reminders for preparing and keeping food safe:
• Clean hands – wash with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling any food. This is important because viruses are not killed by heating food. The key to not spreading viruses is by washing your hands!!
• Shopping and storing food – transport cold food in cooler with ice and place immediately in refrigerator or freezer upon arriving at home; keep food which will not be cooked away from raw eggs, meat, poultry or seafood when shopping or bagging; store eggs, meat, poultry or seafood towards the bottom of the refrigerator to prevent juices from dripping on foods which will not be cooked before eating such as vegetables
• Use a thermometer to be sure meat, poultry and fish are cooked to a safe internal temperature. Ground beef, pork, lamb (160° F); beef, lamb, veal roasts and chops (145° F for 3 minutes); all poultry, including stuffing (165° F); pork and ham (145° F for 3 minutes); egg dishes (160° F).
• Holding foods for service – as long as they have been cooked to the proper temperature, keep hot food at 140° F or higher and cold foods at 40° F or lower by using ice or putting out smaller portions at a time. Bacteria grow most rapidly between 40 and 140° F so the more food is kept out of this temperature danger zone, the better. In addition, you cannot taste, smell or see bacteria which is why it so dangerous.
• Cooling leftovers and refrigerating them within two hours is important to prevent harmful bacteria growth. For large amounts of food leftover, split into smaller portions and place in shallow dishes to allow food to cool throughout. Leftovers which set out for several hours at room temperature should be discarded.
• Use leftovers within three to four days, unless frozen.
• Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator or under running cold water. Never thaw at room temperature.
To learn more, contact Janell at the Chouteau County Extension Office at 622-3036, firstname.lastname@example.org or in the green building next to the Chouteau County Courthouse at 1308 Franklin St in Fort Benton.
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Montana State University, US Department of Agriculture and Montana Counties Cooperating. MSU Extension is an equal opportunity/affirmative action provider of educational outreach.