December 5, 2019

Food Safety: Don't Fall Victim to Food Poisoning. Here Are Tips For Storing Your Food Safely.

Food Safety.
Safe Food Handling.

I love to cook and bake.  And as my husband Jim will tell you, I am a stickler .... a BIG stickler ... about food safety and safe food handling.  After all, who wants to fall victim to food poisoning due to improper food handling?

Proper food handling is easy to incorporate in your home kitchen.  Use thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer to maintain proper temperature.  (I also use a thermometer to check my oven temp, but that's for proper baking temp, and not a food safety issue.)  Appliance thermometers are cheap, mine were $8 or less.  I tie a piece of colored shoelace around the refrigerator and freezer thermometers so I can easily locate them in the appliances.

And as far as proper food handling and storing temps?  The USDA recommends that all foods requiring refrigeration be maintained at 40*F or less, and that foods that must be maintained hot be held at a temperature of 140*F or higher.  The in between area - above 40*F and below 140*F - is known as the "Danger Zone" for foods that require either refrigeration or a hot temperature for safety.  In the Danger Zone, the amount of food bacteria - including food bacteria that can lead to food poisoning - can double in a mere 20 minutes!

So don't leave leftovers on the kitchen counter for hours at time.  And make sure your refrigerator consistently maintains a cold enough temperature.  Studies estimate more than half of home refrigerators are maintained at an unsafe, too high temperature.

As for my chest freezer, I maintain that at a temperature between 0*F and -10*F.  The USDA recommends a consistent freezer temperature of 0*F.

For more information, refer to this handy Basics for Handling Food Safety fact sheet from the USDA.

Happy ... and safe! ... baking and cooking everyone!

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  1. Do eggs need to be kept that cold? I have been told they do not need to be kept that cold.

    1. That is an excellent question, which I debated including in this post. Some food handling guidelines state that eggs and some dairy can be safely maintained at 45*F instead of 40*F. However, USDA guidelines firmly hold to a 40*F temp for eggs and dairy, which is what I adhere to, to help ensure food safety. mrf


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