The CDC estimates that 48 million people become sick with foodborne illness every year in the United States. However, these illnesses are preventable if you follow simple food safety guidelines in the kitchen.
Use this list of food safety tips to protect your family from foodborne illness.
1. Food safety tips for cooking meat
It’s important to use an instant-read thermometer to check internal temperatures every time you are cooking meat. Be sure the chosen protein is cooked to the minimum temperature listed below before serving.
- 145°F for whole cuts of beef, pork, veal, and lamb (rest meat for 3 minutes before carving or eating)
- 160°F for ground meats, such as beef and pork
- 165°F for all poultry, including ground chicken and turkey
- 165°F for leftovers and casseroles
- 145°F for fresh ham (raw)
- 145°F for fin fish, or cook until flesh is opaque
For a more detailed list of food safety guidelines when it comes to temperature, click here.
2. Avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen for better food safety for kids
Starting in the grocery store, food safety guidelines recommend keeping raw meat separate from other groceries in the cart, as well as in grocery bags. Once you are home, store raw meats on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to keep juices from coming into contact with other foods.
During food preparation, designate separate cutting boards and plates for raw meat. Wash all utensils with hot, soapy water after use. If your little ones like to cook, these are food safety tips for kids that they are never too young to learn, either.
3. Wash your hands often
Wash your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds each time you handle raw meat to avoid cross-contamination.
Teach this food safety tip to kids by reminding your little helpers to wash their hands often when they assist you in the kitchen.
4. Rinse produce thoroughly
A lot of people could have touched that apple at the store before you brought it home. Be sure to rinse produce before you eat it, even if you don’t plan to eat the skin. This simple step is one of the most important food safety tips, as produce can often harbor contaminants.
5. Improve food safety in the kitchen for kids by sanitizing sponges regularly
Sponges and dish rags can be some of the germiest things in the kitchen. The CDC recommends sanitizing sponges every other day and replacing them at least every two weeks to prioritize food safety in the kitchen for kids and the rest of your family.
6. Food safety tips for leftovers
When you cook family dinner, you’re likely to end up with leftovers that you can turn into DIY lunchables or other meals to enjoy throughout the week. However, keep in mind the food safety guidelines around leftovers.
Keep foods out of the “danger zone,” or range of temperatures where bacteria are most likely to grow. Never leave leftovers on the counter for more than two hours (no more than an hour if food is outside in warm temperatures). Cool leftovers to 40 degrees Fahrenheit as soon as possible.
Keep a thermometer in your fridge to be sure it is cooling appropriately, making sure the temperature reads 40 degrees. Once a week, clean out foods that are no longer safe to eat (4 days for leftovers, and only 1 or 2 days for raw meats).
Always reheat leftovers to 165 degrees, and do not reheat food more than once.
7. Guidelines for defrosting meat
Never thaw frozen meat on the counter. Instead, safely thaw meat in the refrigerator overnight, or in cold water.
8. Choose pasteurized dairy to ensure food safety for kids
The pasteurization process heats milk to a very high temperature, killing harmful bacteria. Unpasteurized milk may still contain bacteria that is especially dangerous for pregnant women, children, and others with weak immune systems.
9. Only eat cooked dough
Next time you’re tempted to eat cookie dough straight from the fridge, or lick that brownie batter out of the bowl, think again. Raw dough or batter that contains raw egg or flour may contain salmonella. If you or your kids can’t help the temptation but still want to abide by food safety guidelines, make this easy and edible cookie dough.
10. Pay attention to food recalls
Check your refrigerator and pantry whenever a recall is announced, and throw out any foods that have been recalled immediately.
Health and food safety for kids are priorities at Yumble. We only use the freshest ingredients to prepare meals that are wholesome, easy options to feed kids.
Looking for an easy and safe way to feed your kids nutritious meals? Yumble adheres to strict food safety guidelines, delivering fresh, delicious, fully prepared kids' meals right to your doorstep. Simply pick the plan that works best for your family, choose your weekly meals, and Yumble will take care of the rest! No cooking required!