March 26, 2012

SLIDE SHOW: Cook safely, eat safely

 

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Don't leave eggs unrefrigerated for more than two hours.

All photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Do wash hands frequently when handling eggs, meat and other foods.

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EGGS

Treat eggs like raw chicken. They could have salmonella on the surface and on the inside. Crack the egg, cook it, and then wash your hands, the counter and whatever else the egg has touched. Even if you didn't get any egg on your hands or the counter, it's still important to wash those surfaces because there could have been salmonella present.

Eggs must be cooked until the yolks are firm to ensure safety. This eliminates the pleasure of eating them sunny side up, but if you are worried about getting sick, that's the safest solution. Scrambled eggs should not be runny.

Don't wash eggs right after you buy them because that can remove the protective coating that keeps the shell impermeable to air and sometimes bacteria. (Commercial egg producers use a detergent and washing process that doesn't remove the coating.) It's OK to wash them right before you crack them open.

Don't leave eggs unrefrigerated for more than two hours.

Don't store them in the door of the refrigerator where they will be exposed to warm air every time the refrigerator door is open.

If an egg cracks on the way home, break it open and store it in a clean container. Use within two days.

Casseroles and other dishes containing raw eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees.

Don't eat raw eggs in the form of health food shakes, Caesar salad, Hollandaise sauce, homemade mayonnaise, egg nog, or ice cream.

EATING IN RESTAURANTS

Keep an eye out for good general sanitation and food-handling practices. If the bathroom is consistently unclean, you may want to take your business elsewhere.

If the server hands you a glass by the rim, or wraps his hand around the bowl of a spoon when he gives it to you, he may have been improperly trained.

There's a reason for the menu disclaimers about undercooked items. Many diners ignore the warnings, and food safety experts tend to see this as a personal decision -- people will order what they want. But keep in mind that if you order a rare hamburger, or eggs over easy, you are putting yourself at higher risk of contracting a foodborne illness.

MAIL-ORDER FOOD SAFETY

Everyone loves getting the gift of food in the mail, especially during the holidays. Keep this in mind so you don't get sick:

Make sure the company sends perishable items cold or frozen, and packed with a cold source. It should be packed in foam or heavy corrugated cardboard.

The food should be delivered as quickly as possible, ideally overnight.

When you receive a food item marked "Keep Refrigerated," open it immediately and check its temperature. The food should arrive frozen or partially frozen, with ice crystals still visible, or at least refrigerator cold (below 40 degrees).

Even if a product is smoked, cured, vacuum-packed or fully cooked, it is still perishable and must be kept cold.

If food arrives above 40 degrees, as measured with a food thermometer, notify the company. Do not eat, or even taste, the product.

Source: USDA

LEFTOVERS AND STORAGE

Leftovers should be stored in shallow containers for quick cooling, and refrigerated within two hours of cooking.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Do consume ground beef within one or two days of purchase.

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Don't put cooked hamburger patties on the same plate as raw meat.

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Do cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

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Do wash cutting boards after peeling produce and before cutting and chopping vegetables.

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Do use environmentally friendly shopping totes, but wash them often to prevent potential contamination by foodborne pathogens.

John Ewing

 


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