Wellness Wednesday September 25 - Food Safety

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Updated: 10/04/2013 2:47 pm
National Food Safety Education Month
Jaime Friedlander, RN
Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center

How quickly should I refrigerate foods after a meal?
Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking or purchasing. This is important because cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses and be sure to keep the temperature in your refrigerator 40⁰F or below.

Do microwaves kill germs in food?
The heat microwaves generate kill germs so food cooked in a microwave needs to be heated to a safe internal temperature. Microwaves often heat food unevenly, leaving cold spots in food where germs can survive. Be sure to follow package instructions to make sure your food is heated to a safe temperature.

Should we wash pre-packaged foods like fruits and vegetables?
Just because produce is wrapped doesn’t always mean it’s ready to eat as is. Read the label of your product to make sure it is says: “ready-to-eat,” “washed,” or “triple washed.” If it does, you’re good to go! If it doesn’t, wash your hands and then rinse the fruits or vegetables under running water.

Are there germs in raw cookie dough or cake batter? Is it okay for my kids eat some?
Cookie dough or cake batter made with raw eggs may contain salmonella, a food poisoning bacterium. Store bought cookie dough may also contain salmonella or E. coli so it is best to bake the dough according to the package.

How long can I safely keep leftovers?
Leftovers can be kept for three to four days in the refrigerator. If you don't think you'll be able to eat leftovers within four days, freeze them. When you are ready to eat your leftovers, be sure the internal temperature reaches 165⁰F.
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