ORLANDO, Fla. - Do you have a food thermometer at home? Better question: do you actually use it? A recent study found that less than 10 percent of people who own a food thermometer use it. The USDA recommends consumers use a thermometer to limit the risk of salmonella and other pathogens from being in their meats and poultry if they are not properly cooked.
Another thing people should do is separate the food and be careful of cross contamination. Use separate cutting boards for meats and produce to ensure that germs from raw meat are not getting into your salad.
What about storing your food? The Kansas State study found that only 18 percent of people correctly stored raw poultry in the refrigerator. It is important to keep your refrigerator below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and refrigerate foods promptly.
"The key thing to remember is make sure food is not in the danger zone for more than two hours. The danger zone is temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees," said Joe Kivett, a food safety expert and author of The Food Safety Book.
Those are temperatures that can allow bacteria to grow on your food and cause food borne illness. Furthermore, washing your hands seems like the simplest of all tasks, but the Kansas State researchers found that people tracked contamination all over the kitchen and the house when cooking.
"People think I'm at home, it's my house, and I don't need to wash my hands all the time, but there are so many things. You go to change a baby's diaper and you came back to the kitchen or you go to the bathroom and you came back," Kivett said.
So wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and that can save you from being sick hours later.
Kivett also said that if you get food delivered from the now-popular meals kit services, like Blue Apron or Plated, to make sure the package is not damaged and the meals are not in the danger zone for more than two hours.
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