Food safety is part of a healthy lifestyle

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsors March as National Nutrition Month to inspire citizens to make intelligent food choices for a healthy lifestyle.

National Nutrition Month® is an educational and informational campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that encourages Americans to focus on the importance of wise food choices for a healthy life. Their 2015 theme is “Bite into a healthy lifestyle everywhere you go!” It only makes sense that you won’t be as healthy if you don’t take food safety seriously as an important part of good health. Personally, I would say, “Bite into a healthy and safe food lifestyle everywhere you go!”

What would a safe food lifestyle include? Michigan State University Extension has four easy to follow food safety suggestions that are recommended by the Partnership for Food Safety.

  1. Clean – wash hands and surfaces often
  • Twenty seconds is all it takes to wash your hands well with warm water and soap, before and after handling food.
  • Make sure your kitchen counters, table, dishes, pans, utensils, cutting boards and similar items are all clean when preparing food.
  • Rinse all fresh fruits and vegetables under lukewarm water; if they have a firm skin use a vegetable brush while rinsing them. A new recommendation is to dry produce with a clean paper towel or clean cloth before cutting into the produce or eating it.

      2.   Separate – don’t cross-contaminate

  • When grocery shopping separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other foods. Do this in your grocery bags and in your refrigerator as well.
  • Use separate cutting boards for fresh produce and for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
  • If a plate has held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs do not put cooked food on that plate until it has been thoroughly washed.

      3.   Cook – to correct temperatures

      4.   Chill – cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria

  • Put perishable food in the refrigerator as soon as you get home from the grocery store.
  • Your refrigerator should read 40 degrees Fahrenheit on the appliance thermometer that you have in the refrigerator.
  • Do not over-stuff your refrigerator. Cold air must circulate around the refrigerator to keep food cold.
  • Never defrost food at room temperature. Defrost food in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.

You can't see, smell or taste harmful bacteria that may cause foodborne illness. Safe food handling, cooking and storing is essential to preventing foodborne illness and a necessary part of being healthy.

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