Every year, more than 4 million Canadians get food poisoning. Knowing how to properly cook, clean, chill and separate foods while handling and preparing them can help you prevent food poisoning.
Use a Food Thermometer
Cooking food properly is the best way to make sure it is safe to eat. Bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria are killed by heat. Most germs can be killed by cooking foods to an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F) or hotter before you eat them. Safe Internal Cooking Temperatures for Meat
Use Separate Cutting Boards
Foods like fresh salads, vegetables or fruit should not be prepared on a cutting board used for raw meat.
Dishcloths are ideal breeding grounds for germs.
Use a clean dishcloth every day and wash dishcloths frequently in the washing machine. To quickly sanitize your dishcloth, wet it completely and place in the microwave on high for 1 minute. Do not microwave a dry dishcloth
Cook your sprouts.
Raw sprouted seed products, such as bean sprouts, radish sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, mung beans and others, can carry germs that may make you sick. It is best to cook sprouts before eating them. Sprouts are a particular concern because the warm, humid conditions needed to grow sprouts also are ideal for germs to multiply. Therefore, eating raw or lightly cooked sprouts may lead to food poisoning. It’s especially important to avoid raw sprouts if you are pregnant, young children, older adults, or someone with a weakened immune systems.
Fruits and Vegetables
Always pack fresh and raw foods separately in your grocery bags.
Wash fruits and vegetables that have a rind (pineapples, cantaloupes, oranges, melons and squash), before peeling or preparing them.
Cut away any damaged or bruised areas since harmful germs can grow there.
Throw away rotten fruits and vegetables.
Put fresh fruits and vegetables into the refrigerator after peeling, cutting or cooking. Discard them if left at room temperature for 2 or more hours.
If in Doubt, Throw it Out
Do not take chances with your food. Remember, contaminated foods may not look or smell bad, so if in doubt, throw it out. Write the date on the food package or container before you put it in the fridge. This will help you remember how long it has been there. And, always throw away any food after the “best before” date.