15 Ways to Make Your Food Safer
Food Safety Strategies From the Market to the Table
"The assumption that the imported products are unsafe is absolutely not
true," Pillai says. "In fact, there are as many outbreaks associated
with foods grown in the United States. So blaming it on imported products, I
think, is a cop-out."
2. Map your supermarket route. Don't cruise the store aisles
aimlessly. Gather nonperishable items first, fresh or frozen goods last. That
strategy minimizes the time that perishable goods sit in your shopping cart
instead of in a freezer or refrigerator.
3. Be choosy. Select fresh produce that isn't bruised or
damaged. Check that eggs aren't cracked. Look for a clean meat or fish counter
and a clean salad bar. Don't buy bulging or dented cans, cracked jars, or jars
with loose or bulging lids. If fresh-cut produce (such as half a watermelon or
bagged salad mixes) is on your shopping list, choose those that are
refrigerated or surrounded by ice.
4. Pack it up. At the grocery store, bag fresh fruits and vegetables
separately from meat, poultry, and seafood products.
Bring an ice chest to keep frozen or perishable items if it will take more
than an hour to get those items home.
No ice chest? If it's hot outside, put the groceries in the air-conditioned
passenger area of your car instead of putting them in the trunk, which may not
5. Keep your kitchen clean. Wash your cutting boards, countertops,
refrigerator, pots, and utensils regularly in hot, soapy water, especially
after they've been in contact with raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
6. Check your cutting boards. They shouldn't have lots of cracks and
crevices where bacteria can lurk.
7. Sanitize. The FDA recommends periodically sanitizing your cutting
boards, countertops, and kitchen sink drain with a homemade mixture of one
teaspoon of chlorine bleach to one quart of water.
Sponges and dishcloths can house bacteria, so wash them weekly in hot water
in the washing machine.
8. Store your food properly. Refrigerate frozen and perishable items
as soon as possible.
Don't store foods near household chemicals or cleaning products. Some
produce -- like onions and potatoes -- don't need to go in the refrigerator,
but don't store them under the sink, where they could be damaged by leaky
9. Check the refrigerator and freezer temperature. Set the
refrigerator temperature to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, set the freezer to zero
Use a refrigerator thermometer to check those temperatures periodically.
10. Wash your hands. Before you handle food, lather up with soap and
hot water, washing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Repeat after handling
produce, meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.
11. Wash fruits and vegetables in running water. A small scrub brush
may help, but don't use soap or other detergents to wash produce.