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Our #FDA #SUNDAYTWEETORIAL is BACK! Are you throwing a party this #SuperBowl Sunday? Don’t forget to tackle food safety. In today’s Tweetorial, I’ll be serving up a defensive game plan for how you can best protect your family and friends from foodborne illness during the telecast
We know that three common foodborne bacteria like to crash parties. They are Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens and Listeria monocytogenes. And unlike microbes that cause food to spoil, you can’t detect these bacteria by smelling or tasting them.
So, what to do? Consider following this four-step game plan. It involves Cleaning (hands, utensils surfaces); Separating (Don’t cross-contaminate); Cooking (use a food thermometer): and Chilling (food promptly), + a few added tips for entertaining go.usa.gov/xE9AJ.
Cleanliness is the first rule of safe food preparation. That means washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds both before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers or handling pets.
Also, wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and work surfaces frequently with hot soapy water. Rinse fruits and vegetables under running tap water and clean the lid on canned goods before opening them.
Second, separate raw meats from other foods. During food preparation, use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood. Never place cooked food back on the same plate/cutting board that held raw food.
Third, cook food to the right temperature (which varies depending on the food) go.usa.gov/xE98Z. Use a food thermometer to confirm the temp, taking a reading in a few places. It’s the only way to ensure you’ve destroyed harmful bacteria.
Fourth, refrigerate foods promptly, within 2 hrs. of cooking or purchasing, or 1 hr. when the food is exposed to temperatures over 90 ®F. Divide cooked food into shallow containers to encourage rapid, even cooling.
Use an appliance thermometer to be sure the temp. is consistently 40 ®F or less and the freezer is 0®F or below. Need to defrost food? Do so in the fridge, the microwave or in cold water, not at room temp. Immediately cook food thawed in cold water or the microwave.
If you’re planning to serve a buffet (and who isn’t), hot foods should be held at 140 ®F by using chafing dishes/warming trays. BUT check the label—not all warmers reach that temp. Cold foods should be held at 40 ®F or colder by nesting dishes in bowls of ice.
Set out small serving portions. Prepare a number of small platters ahead of time to chill in the fridge or keep hot in the oven (set at 200-250 ®F). Just like you separate raw meats, replace used serving dishes with fresh ones throughout the party. It cuts down on bacteria.
Is chip & dip on your menu? Beware of double-dippers, who take a bite of their chip and then dip their chips a second time (bit.ly/2TnHPET). [Here’s looking at you George Costanza]. To keep bacterial counts from climbing, offer serving spoons and small plates.
Abide by the 2-hour rule. Foods should not sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Keep track of how long foods have been sitting on the buffet table and discard any food that exceeds that time-period. Watch the clock for leftovers/doggie bags too!
Store ice in clean containers that are safe for storing food. Avoid touching the ice with dirty hands or glasses. Handle ice with clean, non-breakable utensils, such as tongs or an ice scoop, and leave it nearby for guests who want to help themselves.
Whether you’re cheering on the Rams or the Pats, or simply enjoying the spectacle, stay penalty-free by following this 4-part food safety game plan: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill when serving food. And, if in doubt, “eject” any food you think may be questionable.
While #SuperBowl Sunday is a special day, you should follow these practical food safety tips on a daily basis to avoid foodborne illness all year long.
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