With the news of the current egg recall, it’s good time to talk about food safety. Uncooked shell eggs and raw meat, fish, poultry and seafood always carry a risk of foodborne illness, so following a few simple tips can help decrease your risk.

Meat Fish

With the news of the current egg recall, it’s good time to talk about food safety. Uncooked shell eggs and raw meat, fish, poultry and seafood always carry a risk of foodborne illness, so following a few simple tips can help decrease your chances of getting sick.

At the grocery store:

  • Divide your cart into frozen, raw meat/fish/eggs, refrigerator, and dry goods. At checkout, take a moment to bag them by category. This way raw meat juices stay away from other items and, when you get home, cold items can go straight into the refrigerator.
  • Look through your ShopWell grocery list and check to see which items might spoil quickly. Take note of the time you pull the first perishable item from the cooler in the grocery store. Make sure to get the food home and back into the fridge in under two hours (less if it is hot outside).

At home:

  • Store raw meat/fish/egg products on the bottom shelf or in drawer in the fridge which should be the coolest part (less than 40 ºF). If the item leaks, it won’t contaminate other fridge items.
  • Wash hands right when you get into the kitchen. Use warm, soapy water, and rub hands together (get the backs and nails too) for 20 seconds or the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday”, “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” twice.

While cooking:

  • Wash your hands again when you begin cooking, after touching raw meat/fish/eggs, your nose, the garbage can, etc., and when you leave and return to the kitchen.
  • Thaw frozen meat in a container in the refrigerator, not on the countertop. If you need the item quicker, place in cold water and change every half hour or defrost in the microwave-just be sure to cook it right after it has defrosted.
  • Designate a separate cutting board for raw meat and wash it right after using. Also, wash bowls, plates, and utensils that held the raw meat products including eggs right after you use them in soap and hot water.
  • With all of the germs being washed off hands, dishes, utensils, etc. the kitchen sink can be teaming with bacteria ready to make you sick. When washing fruits vegetables and other items you don’t plan on cooking, use a colander to keep them up off the sink floor.
  • Routinely change out sponges and sink brushes and try a solution of one tablespoon bleach to one gallon of water to sanitize sinks, cutting boards, and containers or dishes that contained raw items.

Egg specific:

  • Cook eggs until firm or for recipes with egg mixtures like lasagna or meat loaf make sure the middle of the food reaches 160 ºF.
  • For items like cake batters, cookie dough, salad dressings, or other recipes that you might want to lick the spoon or not cook all the way through, try using liquid eggs. Same as regular eggs except they are pre-scrambled and most importantly pasteurized to reduce their risk of containing harmful germs.

For more food safety information, check out the USDA’s Kitchen Companion or FoodSafety.gov.

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