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:
The Food Safety Educator. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Food Safety and Inspection Service. Volume 6, No. 2, 2001. www.fsis.usda.gov