Whether you're hosting a large dinner party or just having a meal at home with a few friends, it's important to follow proper food safety practices. This guide will help you understand some basic cooking tips that will reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Cook Meat Thoroughly
If you're serving meat at your gathering, it's important that you cook it thoroughly. Some people are especially susceptible to foodborne illnesses, so cooking meat completely is especially important. You should confirm the meat's internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Raw beef, pork, lamb, or veal should be cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. For ground beef, pork, veal, or lamb, a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or higher is recommended. Poultry requires an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees. After the meat is removed from the heat source, it needs to rest for three minutes before serving.
Cross-contamination could increase the risk of food poisoning. To reduce this risk, store raw meat in sealed containers on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent contact with other food. Always wash cooking utensils, cutting boards, and food preparation materials with warm, soapy water before you start cooking. You should use separate cutting boards for vegetables and meat, and it is important to use clean washcloths, dish towels, and sponges. Ensure that you clean any serving platters, and wash your hands before and after handling food. All utensils, cutting boards, dishes, and platters should be placed in the sink or dishwasher immediately once they have been used.
Store Food Safely
If food is expired or stored at the wrong temperature, you and your guests may become ill. Once you have opened a jar or food package, be sure to write the opening date on the container. Always store eggs, meat, cheese, and sliced fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator. Mayonnaise, ketchup, and opened jars of jelly need to be refrigerated as well. Pies, cakes, and baked goods can be stored at room temperature for up to two days, but they should be placed in the refrigerator after that. Food that has been purchased from the freezer section of the store should be placed in the freezer immediately. If you are serving salads or other foods that contain eggs, ensure that you keep these items chilled in the refrigerator until it is time to serve them. Food that contains eggs should not be left out on a serving platter for more than two hours. In temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, food with eggs should only be left at room temperature for one hour.
The tips in this guide are intended as a general overview of safe cooking and food storage. If you are unsure about how to store or prepare a particular food, research food-specific safety tips before making a purchase. Enjoy your meal!
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