Foodborne illness: Is your food safe?
Keeping your food safe and prevent foodborne illnesses by cooking and storing food in temperatures beyond temperature danger zones.
Do you eat leftovers? What are PHF’s? What is the TDZ of the food you’re storing? These are all good questions if you cook for yourself, your family and others. According to the Food and Drug Administration, “potentially hazardous foods” are foods “that are natural or synthetic and require temperature control because it is in a form capable of supporting the rapid and progressive growth of infectious or toxigenic microorganisms.”
So if you are cooking chicken, beef, pork, fish or shellfish and you are not cooking these foods to their proper temperature to kill the bacteria in them, you are putting yourself and others at serious risk for a foodborne illness. When preparing food, or storing leftovers, the temperature danger zone (TDZ) should be forefront in your planning. Disregarding guidelines on food temperature safety puts you at risk for becoming ill because of a foodborne illness. Always remember to store and refrigerate your food after you eat a meal to cut back on bacteria rapidly growing on it.
Here are some tips to help you and your families enjoy foods while minimizing the risk of a food borne illness.
- Purchase a food thermometer, with this you can insert into meats and other foods to get an accurate measure of the temperature of the product (always use an ice water calibration for the thermometer.)
- Purchase a thermometer for the refrigerator. Although your refrigerator has temperature controls on the inside, you don’t always know how cold the inside of it is.
- Properly cool down leftovers and store them in a properly temperature-controlled environment.
If you practice safe food handling, you and your loved ones will be less susceptible to food borne illnesses.