Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety at home
podcast series. These podcasts were designed with you in mind - the consumer - who
purchases and prepares meat, poultry and processed egg products
for your family and friends.
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging from safe storage, handling,
and preparation of meat, poultry and processed egg products to the importance of keeping
foods safe during a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to “Food Safety at Home.” This is Gertie Hurley with the Food Safety and Inspection
Service. I’m your host for this segment.
The New Year often brings with it New Year's resolutions. Some New Year resolutions begin
with “I will lose five pounds” or “I promise to exercise.” But there are other resolutions
as well that could save you a trip to the doctor or, worse, the hospital. These resolutions
may be easier to keep - for yourself and your family.
Kathy Bernard, technical information specialist from the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline,
will join me in going over 12 recommended “Be Food Safe” Resolutions for the New Year.
USDA advises putting these “Be Food Safe” resolutions at the top of your 2009 New Year's
list. I’ll begin.
Resolution #1. I will wash my hands and clean all food preparation surfaces with soap
and water before and after touching raw meat, poultry or fish.
Bacteria on raw meat, fish or poultry can contaminate other foods such as bread
or lettuce that will not be cooked.
Resolution #2. I will separate cooked foods from uncooked foods when preparing a meal,
including using separate cutting boards and knives.
Cross-contamination could cause harmful bacteria from one food to be transferred to another
Resolution #3. I will use a food thermometer when cooking.
It’s the only way to know if meat, poultry and fish are cooked safely. You can’t tell
just by looking.
Resolution #4. When grilling outdoors, I will use a clean plate for the cooked hamburgers,
hot dogs or other meat or fish. I won't use the same plate that held raw meat.
Juices from raw meat, poultry or fish could contaminate your cooked food.
Resolution #5. I will use an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and will check
to make sure that the temperature is 40˚ F or below. In the freezer, I will make sure
that the thermometer reads 0˚ F or below.
Bacteria grows rapidly at temperatures above 40˚ F.
Resolution #6. I will always put an ice pack in my child’s lunch box and my own lunch
bag if I have a perishable lunch such as meat, poultry, fish, milk or eggs.
Foods in lunch boxes sitting in warm classrooms or offices without a cold source could cause foodborne illness.
Resolution #7. I will not leave pizza sitting out on the table or my doggie bag in the
Foods should not be left out more than two hours at room temperature, or one hour if the
temperature is over 90˚ F. When in doubt, throw it out.
Resolution #8. I will not defrost my meat and poultry on the counter.
The only safe ways to defrost food is in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave.
Resolution #9. I will not leave ‘take-out” or “ready-to-eat” food in the refrigerator
so long that it’s forgotten.
You can’t tell by looking at or smelling if a food is unsafe. Use or freeze leftovers
within three or four days.
Resolution #10. I will not lick the spoon or the bowl of homemade cookie dough or cake
batter made with raw eggs.
Salmonellosis, a very unpleasant and potentially dangerous illness, can result from eating
raw eggs. Even one taste of raw dough could cause harm.
Resolution #11. If I have a question about food safety, I will call the USDA Meat and
Poultry toll-free Hotline number at 1-888-MPHotline, or 1-888-674-6854.
The Hotline is there to help you. Get your questions answered. Do not guess about food
safety because the health of your family and friends is at stake. You can call the toll-free
Hotline year-round Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time, in English
or Spanish. You can listen to timely recorded food safety messages 24 hours a day. You
can also visit the FSIS web site at www.fsis.usda.gov.
E-mail your questions to MPHotline.email@example.com.
And finally, Resolution #12. I will also Ask Karen.
Ask Karen is a Web-based virtual representative who can answer questions about the prevention
of foodborne illness, as well as the safe handling, preparation, and storage of meat,
poultry, and egg products. Karen is an extensive database of food safety information and
is available year-round, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Well, that’s it for this week. Kathy Bernard and I have discussed the USDA’s “Be Food
Safe Resolutions” for the New Year. I’m Gertie Hurley and I’d like to thank you for joining
us for this episode of “Food Safety at Home.” And remember, “Be Food Safe” and have a
Happy New Year.
Well, that’s all for this time. Thanks for joining us today for another episode of
food safety at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free meat and poultry hotline
at 1-888-mphotline. That’s 1-888-674-6854.
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our virtual representative
"ask karen" at www.askkaren.gov .
Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments to
Thanks for tuning in.