Food Safety 101: Back to Basics

>>We have two representatives from the U-S-D-A
Meat and Poultry Hotline here today. Tina Hanes & Marianne Gravely are here to explain
the four U-S-D-A recommend food safety steps, and how they can be used to prevent foodborne
illness in your home.>>Tina: Thank you Chris. The U-S-D-A Meat
and Poultry Hotline is a toll-free telephone service staffed by food safety experts. Since
NINETEEN EIGHTY FIVE, the staff has answered almost THREE MILLION calls and has expanded
its technical services with the times to include answering questions through email and our
online chat service and we provide food safety answers TWENTY FOUR SEVEN through Ask Karen
DOT gov. My name is Tina Hanes, I am a registered dietitian
and a registered nurse and I have worked with the Hotline for 8 years. My colleague, Marianne
Gravely, joined the Hotline staff in NINETEEN EIGHTY EIGHT. She has a Bachelor of Science
degree in home economies with an emphasis in foods and nutrition. She received her master�s
degree in Human Nutrition and Foods. Today we are going to cover The Four Steps:
Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. The purpose of this webinar is to help you
protect yourself, your family, and the children you care for from foodborne bacteria. First,
Marianne is going to explain some terms we’ll be using throughout this webinar.>>Marianne: We can’t talk about Food Safety
without talking about Bacteria. Bacteria are microscopic single-celled organisms that live
mostly on the surfaces of objects, where they grow as colonies. Not all bacteria cause disease
in humans. For example, some bacteria are used to make cheese and yogurt. There are two main types of bacteria: spoilage
and pathogenic. Spoilage bacteria are microorganisms that
are too small to be seen without a microscope. They cause food to deteriorate and develop
unpleasant odors, tastes, and textures. These one-celled microorganisms can cause fruits
and vegetables to get mushy or slimy, or meat to develop a bad odor. Pathogenic bacteria cause disease such as
the foodborne illnesses that were just discussed. Pathogenic bacteria can be found on raw meat
and poultry products. If these foods are refrigerated, most of the pathogens do not reproduce, and
those that do, grow slowly. They will be destroyed when the product is cooked. If raw products
are left out at warmer temperatures, these pathogens can produce a heat-stable toxin,
or poison, that might not be destroyed by cooking. It is important to remember that, unlike spoilage
bacteria, pathogenic bacteria do not generally affect the taste, smell or appearance of food.
In other words, you cannot tell that a food has been mishandled or is dangerous to eat. The Danger Zone is the temperature range between
FORTY and ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY degrees Fahrenheit, where bacteria grow rapidly. Room temperatures
fall in the “Danger Zone”. And finally, The Two Hour Rule: Some Bacteria
can double their numbers every TWENTY minutes at temperatures above 40oF. In just TWO hours,
these bacteria can become so great in number that they can cause an illness or form toxins
that cause illness. Here is an all too common two hour rule violation.
After dinner, you leave a dish on the counter to cool. You and your family sit down to watch
TV and before you know it you’ve forgotten all about your food on the counter. By the
time you remember, it’s more than 2 hours. You check the dish and it doesn’t smell bad
or look funny. You decide its fine and put it in the refrigerator to eat later. But you
have put your family at risk because pathogenic bacteria may be growing in that food. The food safe action to take here is to discard
the dish, even though it looked and smelled good. Remember: never taste food to see if
it has spoiled. You may be eating food that will give you food poisoning!!! Now that you know the terminology we will
be using throughout the presentation, TINA will start us out with the first of the Four
Steps: Clean>>Tina: Because bacteria are everywhere, cleanliness
is a major factor in preventing foodborne illness. By keeping everything clean that
comes in contact with food, you can be assured you are doing your part to keep your family
and the children in your care safe. Bacteria are everywhere, on our hands, in
our breath, on anything you touch. You can contaminate foods by handling them. So the
first thing you should do before you handle food is wash your hands, and wash them again
after you handle food, especially meat and poultry. It is important to remember to wash your hands
effectively by using warm soapy water for TWENTY seconds. To make sure you wash your
hands long enough sing the Happy Birthday song twice. Using both soap and water removes dirt, oils
and bacteria through the friction of rubbing your hands together with soap. You don’t have
to use antibacterial soap, regular soap is just fine. Though using only water does not
do the job. Now that we know how to thoroughly wash our
hands, let’s cover when we should wash them. You should wash your hands before and after
handling food, after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, handling pets, tending to a sick
person, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, handling uncooked eggs or raw meat or poultry,
or fish and their juices, handling soiled equipment or utensils, and handling money. In addition to washing your hands, it is important
to thoroughly wash any surface that comes in contact with raw meat, poultry, fish and
eggs before moving on to the next step in food preparation. Keep surfaces such as faucets
and counter tops clean by washing with hot soapy water and consider using paper towels
to clean and wipe kitchen surfaces. If you use dishcloths, wash them often in the hot
cycle of your washing machine. And make sure any cooking equipment you use
is clean. This includes serving utensils, knives, and cutting boards. Clean equipment
with soap and water after each use. It is not enough to just rinse them off with water. The last and certainly not least topic in
CLEAN is cutting boards. To keep them clean, wash in hot soapy water then rinse and air
dry or pat dry with clean paper towels. This should be done after each use. If you’re worried about bacteria growing on
your cutting board it can be sanitized with a solution of ONE tablespoon unscented, liquid
chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Flood the surface with bleach solution and allow
it to stand for several minutes; then rinse and air or pat dry with clean paper towels.
But remember, the bleach solution should be made fresh each time. If made in advance the
bleach will evaporate out of the solution. If you have a non-porous acrylic, plastic,
glass, and solid wooden board it can be washed in the dishwasher. If you use a laminated
board it may crack and split open. You should discard your cutting board once
it has become excessively worn or develops hard-to-clean groves. The best practice with cutting boards is to
have two. One for meat and poultry and one for fruits, vegetables, and breads.>>Marianne: Now let’s move on to the second
step: SEPARATE. The purpose of separate is to prevent Cross-contamination. Cross-contamination
is the transfer of harmful bacteria to food from other foods, hands, or equipment (such
as cutting boards or utensils). This is especially true when handling raw meat, poultry, and
seafood. Raw juices often contain harmful bacteria. The key to Separate is to keep the
juices from raw meat, poultry and seafood away from already cooked foods and fresh produce.
In other words, anything that you are going to eat without cooking. Following the separate step starts in the
grocery store where you should keep raw meat, poultry and seafood away from other foods
in your shopping cart. Use the plastic bags at the meat counter to prevent meat juices
from dripping onto other foods. When checking out ask the cashier to place your meat products
in a separate bag. This will prevent juices from getting on other food during the journey
home. Once you get home, place the raw meat, poultry
and seafood you purchased in containers or sealed plastic bags to prevent their juices
from dripping onto other foods. If possible, place them on a lower shelf to prevent juice
from dripping down onto other foods. When preparing food, you can prevent cross-contamination
by making sure to wash hands and surfaces often, as harmful bacteria can spread throughout
the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, and countertops. Be sure to wash your cutting
boards or use a different cutting board after preparing raw meat, poultry, or seafood. When marinating food remember that the sauce
used to marinate raw meat, poultry, or seafood should not be used on cooked foods unless
it is boiled just before using. Once you are ready to eat, remember to always
use a clean plate. Never place cooked food back on the same plate or cutting board that
previously held raw food.>>Tina: Now that we know how to avoid cross-contamination,
let�s learn how to prevent foodborne illnesses by using the third step: COOK. It is important to cook all meat, poultry,
and eggs to a safe internal temperature so that food poisoning bacteria will be destroyed. To ensure that your food has reached the USDA
recommend temperature, always use a food thermometer. This is the only way to tell if food is thoroughly
cooked as color is not a reliable indicator of doneness. When cooking raw beef, pork, lamb, and veal
steaks, chops, and roasts, your thermometer should read ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE degrees
Fahrenheit or above before the meat is removed from the heat source. For safety and quality,
allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. If for like your
meat cooked to a higher temperature than ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE degrees Fahrenheit
that is safe as well. If you are cooking ground beef, pork, lamb,
and veal it should be cooked to a temperature of ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY degrees Fahrenheit.
For poultry the internal temperature should read ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE degrees Fahrenheit. But executing the cook step is not just about
reaching the right internal temperature, it is about using safe cooking techniques as
well. These include ensuring that your oven is not set lower than THREE HUNDRED AND TWENTY
FIVE degrees Fahrenheit because below this temperature it takes too long for food to
cook and food can remain in THE DANGER ZONE too long allowing bacteria to multiply rapidly. Never interrupt cooking, which is where you
partially cook food cool it down and then start cooking again. This may encourage bacterial
growth before cooking is complete. To avoid bacterial growth, make sure to cook food all
the way through the first time. Sometimes we get questions on the Hotline
about precooking food partially in the microwave, oven, or stove. For example, if it is safe
to parboil ribs. Parboiling is a good way of reducing grilling time. Just make sure
that the food goes immediately on the preheated grill to complete cooking. Never brown or
partially cook meat or poultry and refrigerate it and then finish cooking later because any
bacteria present will not be destroyed. Many illnesses are caused by food left out
on the counter at room temperature. Hot food should be held at ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY degrees
Fahrenheit or warmer and cold food should be held at FORTY degrees Fahrenheit or colder.
To avoid leaving your food in the DANGER ZONE, we suggest keeping food hot with chafing dishes,
slow cookers, and warming trays. Keep food cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice or
use small serving trays and replace them often. If you have leftovers, it is safe to eat them
cold, straight from the refrigerator. If you wish to reheat leftovers you should cook them
to the internal temperature of ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE degrees Fahrenheit. This will
ensure that if food was mishandled during, cooking, serving, or cooling bacteria that
may be present will be destroyed.>>Marianne: Now let’s cover the last step
Chill. To survive and reproduce, bacteria need time and the right conditions: food,
moisture, and a warm temperature. Most pathogens grow rapidly at temperatures above FORTY degrees
Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature for bacterial growth is between FORTY and ONE HUNDRED AND
FORTY degrees Fahrenheit also known as the DANGER ZONE. Cold temperatures keep harmful bacteria from
growing. Most bacteria and other pathogens grow very slowly, if at all, at refrigerator
temperatures. Listeria monocytogenes is one exception. Freezing will stop growth, but
DOES NOT destroy bacteria. Follow these basic guidelines to protect perishable
foods, yourself and your family from bacteria: Divide cooked foods into shallow containers
for rapid cooling Stir soups and stews to speed the release
of heat. A large cut of meat or whole poultry should
be divided into smaller pieces and wrapped separately or placed in shallow containers
before refrigerating Cover containers and refrigerate within TWO
hours. Discard any food left out at room temperature
for more than 2 hours. Cut that time down to 1 hour if the temperature is above NINETY
degrees Fahrenheit. Store cooked foods in the refrigerator and
use within FOUR days, or freeze and use within TWO to THREE months for best flavor and quality. Food poisoning bacteria doesn’t grow in the
freezer, so frozen foods are safe indefinitely, but eventually they may dry out or lose flavor. It is safe to put hot foods in the refrigerator.
Despite rumor, the refrigerator won’t “SOUR” hot foods.
To ensure safety, used cooked leftovers within FOUR days. Finally, make sure your refrigerator and freezer
are at the correct temperature. Your refrigerator should be set at FORTY degrees Fahrenheit.
At this temperature, food poisoning bacteria won’t grow, but eventually food will spoil.
Keep your freezer set to ZERO degrees Fahrenheit. Foods at this temperature will be safe indefinitely,
but eventually may dry out or lose their flavor.>>Tina: That covers the basics of U-S-D-A
recommend FOUR Steps for food safety, Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill. Remember: Clean means wash your hands and
kitchen surfaces often during cooking, Separate means keep your raw meats from other
foods, Cook means ensure that your meat, poultry, and egg products are cooked to the right temperature,
and Chill means you should refrigerate your food promptly and within TWO hours of cooking.

One comment on “Food Safety 101: Back to Basics”

  1. Pamela Montesinos says:

    Why the danger zone is different from that codez alimentarius says? I know that the danger zone is between 41F- 135F

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