INFORMATIONAL BULLETIN NO. 20-06-DES

 DISTRICT ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES DIVISION

FOOD SAFETY IN YOUR KITCHEN

 Here are some quick tips to help prevent bacteria from taking over your kitchen and some easy techniques you can practice at home to avoid a food borne illness from hitting your family. 

 WHEN YOU SHOP

Ø  Buy cold food last and get it home fast.
Ø  Never leave food in a hot car.
Ø  Don’t buy cans with severe dents, bulging lids, or missing labels.

 WHEN YOU ARRIVE HOME

Ø  Refrigerate/freeze meat as soon as you arrive home.
Ø  Set refrigerator dial at 40°F or below and freezer at 0°F or below.
Ø  Thaw meat only in the refrigerator or microwave (on “defrost”).
Ø  Place raw meat in a container to prevent leaking juices, and store it on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator.

 BEFORE PREPARING THE FAMILY MEAL

Ø  Wash hands with soap and hot water and dry on a paper towel or clean, dry cloth.
Ø  Thoroughly wash and sanitize all food preparation surfaces to eliminate existing bacteria.
Ø  Use only clean knives and cooking utensils.
Ø  Sanitize utensils and cutting boards between cutting raw and cooked foods to prevent cross- contamination.
Ø  Do not leave food out on the counter.  If interrupted during preparation, place cold food back in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Ø  Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating.

 COOK IT SAFE

Ø  Cook ground beef until it is no longer pink, and juices run clear.
Ø  Cook solid cut beefsteaks or a roast to a minimum of 158°F (more rare) to 170°F (well done).
Ø  Thoroughly reheat precooked food to 165°F before serving.

 WHEN SERVING

Ø  Use clean dishes and utensils to serve food, not those used in preparation. 
Ø  Return grilled foods on a clean plate, not the one that held the raw meat, fish, or poultry.
Ø  Carry picnic food and lunches in a cooler with a cold pack.  Store out of the direct sun and keep lids on until it’s time to eat!
Ø  Never leave perishable food out of the refrigerator for an extended period of time.

 LEFTOVERS

Ø  Divide up large amounts of leftovers into small, shallow containers to allow quick cooling in the refrigerator.
Ø  Cover all containers and do not stack containers on top of uncovered food.
Ø  Always remove stuffing from meat and poultry before storing and reheating.
Ø  Watch out for moldy foods.  Mold seen on the surface indicates more unseen mold on the inside of the food.  Although hard cheese, salamis, and firm fruit is probably okay when a LARGE area around the mold is cut away, most moldy food should be discarded.
Ø  Never taste food that looks or smells “strange”.
Ø  When in doubt, throw it out!!!

COLD STORAGE GUIDELINES

 The following time limits will help keep refrigerated food from spoiling or becoming dangerous to eat, and keep frozen food in top quality*. 

Product

Refrigerator (40°F)

Freezer (0°F)

Eggs

Fresh, in shell

3 weeks

Don't Freeze

Raw yolks, white

2-4 days

1 year

Hard cooked

1 week

Don't freeze well

Liquid pasteurized eggs or egg substitutes

Opened

3 days

Don't freeze

Unopened

10 days

1 year

Mayonnaise, commercial


Refrigerate after opening


2 months


Don't freeze

TV Dinners, Frozen Casseroles

Keep frozen until ready to serve

N/A

3-4 months

Deli & Vacuum-Packed Products



Store-prepared (or homemade) egg, chicken, tuna, ham, macaroni salads

3-5 days

All of these products don't freeze well

Pre-stuffed pork & lamb chops, chicken breasts stuffed with dressing

1 day

Store-cooked convenience meals

1-2 days

Commercial brand vacuum-packed dinners with USDA seal

2 weeks, unopened

Soups & Stews

Vegetable or meat-added

3-4 days

2-3 months

Hamburger, Ground & Stew Meats

Hamburger & stew meats

1-2 days

3-4 months

Ground turkey, veal, pork, lamb & mixtures of them

1-2 days

3-4 months

Hotdogs

opened package

1 week

 

unopened package

2 weeks

 

Lunch meats

opened

3-5 days

In freezer wrap, 1-2 months

unopened

2 weeks

Bacon & Sausage

Bacon

7 days

1 month

Sausage, raw from pork, beef, turkey

1-2 days

1-2 months

Smoked breakfast links, patties

7 days

1-2 months


Hard sausage-pepperoni, jerky sticks

2-3 weeks

1-2 months

Ham, Corned Beef

Corned beef in pouch with pickling juices

5-7 days

1 month (Drained, wrapped)

Ham, canned - label says keep refrigerated

6-9 months

Don't freeze

Ham, fully cooked - whole

7 days

1-2 months

Ham, fully cooked - half

3-5 days

1-2 months

 



Ham, fully cooked - slices

3-4 days

1-2 months

Fresh Meat

Steaks, beef

3-5 days

6-12 months

Chops, pork

3-5 days

4-6 months

Chops, lamb

3-5 days

6-9 months

Roasts, beef

3-5 days

6-12 months

Roasts, lamb

3-5 days

6-9 months

Roasts, pork & veal

3-5 days

4-6 months

Variety meats - tongue, brain, kidneys, liver, heart, chitterlings

1-2 days

3-4 months

Meat Leftovers

Cooked meat and meat dishes

3-4 days

2-3 months

Gravy and meat broth

1-2 days

2-3 months

Fresh Poultry

Chicken or turkey, whole

1-2 days

1 year

Chicken or turkey pieces

1-2 days

9 months

Giblets

1-2 days

3-4 months

Cooked Poultry, Leftover

Fried chicken

3-4 days

4 months


Cooked poultry dishes


3-4 days


4-6 months


Pieces, plain

3-4 days

4 months

Pieces covered with broth, gravy

1-2 days

6 months

Chicken nuggets, patties

1-2 days

1-3 months

 *Information taken from Partnership for Food Safety Education
*Document available in an alternate format upon request 

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