General Food Safety Guidelines

Chrome 2001
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Aetna Intelihealth InteliHealth Aetna Intelihealth Aetna Intelihealth
 
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Harvard Medical School
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Chrome 2001
Chrome 2001
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General Food Safety Guidelines

Digestive
8270
Food Safety
General Food Safety Guidelines
General Food Safety Guidelines
htmGIZoneFoodSafety
While there are specific guidelines for preventing each of the major food-borne illnesses, there are some guidelines that should be followed at all times.
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InteliHealth
2010-07-20
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InteliHealth Medical Content
2013-07-30

Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

General Food Safety Guidelines

While there are specific guidelines for preventing each of the major food-borne illnesses, there are some guidelines that should be followed at all times:

Shop wisely

  • Don't buy bent or dented cans.
  • Don't buy cans that bulge out at the top or bottom.
  • Don't buy cracked, leaky or broken jars.
  • Check expiration dates on packaged foods, and never buy outdated food.
  • Don't buy cracked eggs.

Store safely

  • Check the temperature of your freezer and refrigerator. Freezer temperature should be below freezing (0 degrees F or -18 degrees C), and refrigerator temperature should be 40 degrees F (4 degrees C) or less.
  • Freeze or refrigerate perishables immediately.
  • Store eggs in the body of the refrigerator in their original carton, not on the door which is warmer.
  • Wrap raw meat and poultry so they can't leak juices onto other foods.
  • Store leftovers in tight containers. Shallow dishes are best because they allow for quick and even cooling.
  • Check stored food for signs of spoilage, and throw away any food that looks or smells "funny."
  • Don't over-pack refrigerator or freezer. Air needs to circulate around the stored food.
  • Keep seafood in the refrigerator or freezer until needed.
  • Refrigerate hot foods within two hours after cooking. If foods stand out for longer than two hours, throw them away.
  • Use leftovers within three to five days. After that, throw them away.
  • Use uncooked beef and poultry within one to two days after thawing.

Avoid cross-contamination

  • Use one cutting board for raw meat and poultry, and a separate cutting board for hot, cooked meat and vegetables.
  • Wash hands and cooking utensils thoroughly in soap and hot water after touching raw meat or poultry, and before handling any other food.
  • Don't put cooked meats or poultry on a plate that held raw meat or poultry unless the plate has been thoroughly cleaned.
  • Wash kitchen counters and cutting boards thoroughly with soap after preparing raw meat or poultry.

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold

  • Don't let frozen foods, including meat and poultry, defrost on the kitchen counter at room temperature. Let them defrost slowly in the refrigerator, or use the microwave.
  • Cook all meats thoroughly. Beef should be brown or gray in the middle, not pink or rare. Chicken should have no hint of pink and juices should run clear.
  • Use a meat thermometer to assure proper temperature: Beef, lamb and pork should be cooked to 160 degrees F (71 degrees C); whole poultry and thighs to 180 degrees F (82 degrees C); chicken breasts to 170 degrees F (77 degrees C).
  • Cook fish until opaque and flaky.
  • Cook reheated foods to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Food should be steaming.
  • Cook soups, sauces and gravies to boiling when reheating.
  • If microwaving food, make sure there are no cold spots.
  • Serve hot foods as quickly as possible.

More food safety

  • Cook eggs until the yolk is hardened and the white is solid.
  • Don't make recipes that leave eggs uncooked.
  • Follow proper guidelines if canning at home.
  • Throw away canned foods that bulge.
  • Throw away foods that have out-lived their expiration date.
  • Don't taste food you are preparing, such as cookie dough, if it contains raw eggs.
  • Avoid raw or unpasteurized milk and milk products.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating.
  • Encourage family members to wash hands thoroughly before eating or handling food.

 

 

 

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Last updated September 30, 2013


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