Food Safety and The Story of Your Dinner

With the start of school, September is the perfect time to get back in the groove of family meals. The benefits of family meals are numerous, but keep food safety in mind during preparation and beyond.
Food Safety and The Story of Your Dinner - News

Updated: September 6, 2018

Food Safety and The Story of Your Dinner

Partnership for Food Safety Education

September is Food Safety Education Month and the Partnership for Food Safety Education aims to help everyone understand his or her role in keeping food safe. The Story of Your Dinner follows the path food takes from farm to table and the many people involved in keeping our food safe. As you and your family get back in the kitchen this fall, keep in mind the basic food safety tips of Clean, Cook, Separate and Chill! Some key points to remember include:

  • Always start by wash your hands with soap under warm, running water for 20 seconds after handling food or anytime they become dirty!
  • Do not rinse raw meat or poultry under running water in the sink. This can spread bacteria to other surfaces and other food products, as well as your hands.
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables under running water, even those with skins or rinds that are not eaten.
  • Always use a food thermometer to check the final cooked temperature of foods; do not rely on color of the meat or juices. These do not indicate that the food has reached the correct temperature to destroy harmful bacteria that may be present.
  • If thawing food, always thaw in the refrigerator and read and follow cooking instructions for a safe and quality product. Often people think a product is pre-cooked when it is actually raw, so carefully read the directions.
  • Refrigerator temperature should be 40°F or lower; purchase a refrigerator thermometer and keep it near the door so you know foods are being kept cold.
  • Keep raw meat, seafood and eggs separate from other foods in your grocery cart, bags and refrigerator. When selecting meat at the store, pick up the packages with the plastic bags provided and keep in the bag in your home refrigerator.
  • Keep your counter tops clean and be sure to wash with detergent and rinse when you go from one job to the next.

Penn State Extension’s Fight Bac! Four Simple Steps to Food Safety has a listing of the proper cooking temperatures for foods as well as other food safety tips in the home.

So this September, make the pledge to share one more meal at home each week while helping your children learn the importance of safe food handling!

Authors

Food Safety Retail Food Safety for Volunteer Groups Home Food Preservation Home and Consumer Food Safety Nutrition

More by Sharon McDonald, MEd, RD, LDN