Food safety tips to help you and your family stay healthy

Follow these important tips to minimize the occurrence of foodborne illness.

Michigan State University Extension and Food along with food safety experts and researchers are committed to helping consumers stay healthy and not experience foodborne illness. Foodborne illnesses affect millions and causes thousands of deaths each year. It also costs billions of dollars each year and can result in legal action. Consumers can do their part by following these important tips.

  • Wash your hands. Handwashing is easy to do and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent many types of infection and illness from spreading to our food. Germs on your hands can contaminate the food that you or others eat. So wash hands the right way—for 20 seconds with soap and running water.
  • Don’t thaw food on the counter. Thawing food on the counter exposes it to harmful bacteria as it defrosts, as harmful germs can multiply extremely rapidly at room temperature and these bacteria could potentially cause a foodborne illness. To thaw food safely follow these practices: thaw in the refrigerator, in cold water, in the microwave with immediate cooking afterward or thawed as part of the cooking process.
  • Don’t wash meat or poultry. Washing raw meat or poultry can spread bacteria to your sink, countertops, and other surfaces in your kitchen. It is important to note that Campylobacter germs (a type of bacteria) are commonly found in raw meat, particularly raw poultry such as chicken and turkey.
  • Don’t undercook meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs. The common approach of looking at the color and texture of meat, poultry, seafood or eggs to see if they are cooked properly is not safe. To prevent foodborne illnesses use a food thermometer to check for accurate temperatures. Cooked food is safe only after it’s been cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria. Use the Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures chart and a food thermometer to make sure you always reach the correct temperature.

Following these food safety practices can help to minimize the occurrence of foodborne illnesses. Remember to share these tips with family and friends to keep you and your family safe.

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