Health Awarelets: Food Safety

Be Cool. Chill Out. Hot tips from The Food Safety Educator.

Fact: It takes 24 hours for an 8" stockpot of steaming chicken soup to cool to a safe temperature in your refrigerator.

Fact: Dangerous bacteria double in number in 20 minutes at room temperature.

Fact: Some dangerous bacteria, such as Listeria, can multiply even at refrigerator temperatures.

Here are some good "chill" food safety rules:

  • Refrigerate perishable foods promptly! Even steaming hot foods. It's safe and wont hurt the refrigerator.
  • Get a refrigerator thermometer! They're not expensive, and are the only way to ensure temperatures are in the safe zone, below 40 degrees F.
  • Don't jam-pack the fridge! Air needs to circulate to cool quickly. Use storage bins for fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses. Eggs are best stored in their original containers.
  • Keep it clean! Clean spills immediately. Wash the fridge with warm, soapy water, regularly.
  • Pitch! Don't keep food too long. Better to toss the left-overs than to guess what may be breeding. For food storage guidelines:

Summarized from:

The Food Safety Educator. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Food Safety and Inspection Service. Volume 6, No. 2, 2001.

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