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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

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Spring 2018 Food Safety Toolkit: Talking Points

  • Each year, according to CDC, foodborne illnesses in the U.S. lead to approximately 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Many of these illnesses can be prevented by changing behaviors in the kitchen.
  • The goal of the Food Safe Families campaign is to educate consumers about the dangers of foodborne illnesses and how to make safer choices at home.
  • This spring, we’re reinforcing the basics by encouraging families to follow the four steps to food safety: clean, separate, cook and chill. They are the four bases you have to touch in the kitchen if you want to score a safe meal at home, especially when cooking for groups of people.
  • Clean: Clean hands, surfaces and utensils with soap and warm water before cooking. Wash hands for 20 seconds before and after handling raw food.
  • Separate: Use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils to avoid cross-contamination between raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs and foods that are ready to eat.
  • Cook: Confirm foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature by using a food thermometer.
  • Chill: Chill foods promptly if not consuming immediately after cooking. Don’t leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours.
  • Food that is mishandled can cause very serious consequences for all, especially for "at-risk" groups—infants, young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems. For this reason, it is important to be especially careful when preparing and serving food to large groups.
  • Beef, pork or lamb kabobs are an easy way to break in the grill after a long winter, but remember to check that the meats are cooked to the proper internal temperature of 145°F and that they rest for at least three minutes before serving.
  • Eggs are a popular dish for the traditional Easter and Passover celebrations. Eggs should not sit out at room temperature for more than two hours. Keep hard-cooked eggs in the refrigerator until ready to serve. If you plan to eat the Easter eggs you decorate, then be sure to use only food-grade dye. One suggestion is to make two sets of eggs - one for decorating and hiding, another for eating. Consider using plastic eggs for hiding.
  • All egg dishes should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 160°F, as measured by a food thermometer.
  • Ham is a popular meat for the Easter table. Consumers need to be aware that there are several types of ham and required preparations differ depending on the type. Ham is either ready-to-eat or requires cooking before eating. Ready-to-eat hams are cooked at the plant and can be safely eaten right out of the package.
  • Fresh, uncooked hams must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 160°F. Spiral-cut or fully cooked, unsliced hams are examples of ready-to-eat products that can be served cold or can be reheated.
  • Lamb is another popular dish for Easter and Ramadan. For safety, the USDA recommends cooking a leg of lamb and other cuts to a safe minimum internal temperature of 145°F. Leftovers should be stored within two hours of cooking. Divide leftovers into smaller portions and refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for quicker cooling. Set your refrigerator to 40°F and freezer to 0°F.
  • Among the many tools available at Foodsafety.gov is the FoodKeeper app. The FoodKeeper helps you keep track of storage for food and beverages. It will help you maximize the freshness and quality of items. Following the FoodKeeper guidelines you will be able to keep items fresh longer than if they were not stored properly. With more than 150,000 downloads on both Android and iOS smartphones, the FoodKeeper is quickly establishing itself as the go-to quick reference guide for safe food storage.

People with questions about food safety can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist in English or Spanish at AskKaren.gov. Additional information can also be found at FoodSafety.gov. There you will find blogs, infographics, food safety guidance, and the latest news on food recalls.

Last Modified Mar 13, 2018