15 Ways to Make Your Food Safer
Food Safety Strategies From the Market to the Table
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.
What about produce washes? "All of these solutions and washes may have
some applications but studies show that washing with water is as safe as
anything else," says Pillai, who calls water the "most effective, the
safest, and the cheapest" way to wash produce.
12. Thaw foods in the refrigerator, not on the countertop. It may
take longer, but it's safer.
13. Cook foods thoroughly. Use a meat thermometer to make sure meat
is fully cooked. Never put cooked meats on an unwashed plate or platter that
has held raw meat.
14. Store leftovers safely. Refrigerate leftovers in tight containers
as soon as possible and use them within three days. When in doubt, throw it