9 Food Poisoning Myths
Do you know the truth about food safety?
Food Poisoning Myths continued...
Using the same utensils, cutting boards, and plates
for foods eaten at the same meal is safe as long as they start out
REALITY: Raw meat and other foods contain bacteria that can
cross-contaminate other foods if not kept separate. Use separate utensils,
cutting boards, and serving plates for meats and produce, or carefully wash
them between tasks. Put cooked meat on a clean platter, not the same one that
held the meat before it was cooked. Make sure sponges and counters are
disinfected and kept clean to avoid contaminating food.
"Dirty hands, dish towels, sponges, and countertops can also transfer
bacteria or cross- contaminate, so be sure everything is clean before you start
food preparation," says Burton-Freeman.
If food is kept in a cooler, it will be maintained
at the proper temperature.
REALITY: "Bacteria grow in the danger zone, which is anywhere from
40-140 degrees F, and when the weather is warm and you are eating outdoors, it
is a challenge to keep food at or below 40 degrees F unless you take
precautions," says food safety expert Cody. The only way to know for sure if
your cooler or refrigerator is at the proper temperature is with a
Cody advises packing raw meat in a separate cooler from other foods to avoid
any potential cross-contamination from spilled juices. Pack your coolers tight
with ice, store in a cool spot, and keep them closed until it is time to cook
or serve the food. Keep drinks in their own cooler so you can open and shut it
frequently without having to worry about lowering the temperature of the
You can tell when meat is properly cooked by
looking at it and pressing on it.
REALITY: Even the most talented chefs can't tell the exact
temperature just by looking and touching. "The only way to know if a food is
cooked properly to kill the bacteria is with a meat thermometer," says Cody.
She warns against cooking meats partially ahead of time, then finishing them
the grill on location because this promotes bacterial growth. Burgers should be
cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.