September is National Food Safety Month
Hello, food safety enthusiasts! I am not sure if you know this, but September is National Food Safety Education Month here in the United States. Here at FoodReady food safety software and food safety consulting, our food safety consultants are super excited about this! We want everyone to have safe healthy food.
FDA FSMA Means a Safer Food Supply
Thank you, FDA and FSMA, for promoting food safety culture. It’s a victory for all of us. Please remember to wash your hands, cook your food to the appropriate temperature, wipe down your counters, and store your leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. The FDA is making efforts to educate the public about proper food preparation and cooking, as well as teaching them other helpful tips about food shopping and storage.
The FDA is simplifying home food safety into four steps:
During this FDA Food Safety Month, it’s time to renew our commitment to keeping our meals safe and healthy. The FDA outlines four fundamental steps towards a safer food handling process: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. Here’s how you can incorporate these critical steps into your routine, ensuring your food is not just delicious but also safe to consume.
1. Clean: Your Foundation to Safety
- Wash Hands and Surfaces Often: Regular cleaning can prevent the spread of bacteria. Always wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling pets.
- Sanitize Surfaces: Use a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water to sanitize your kitchen surfaces before and after preparing food.
- Don’t Forget Utensils and Appliances: Dishcloths, utensils, cutting boards, and appliances like blenders should be thoroughly washed with hot, soapy water after each use.
2. Separate: Avoid Cross-Contamination
- Use Separate Cutting Boards: Employ one cutting board for fresh produce and a different one for raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
- Store Foods Separately: In your refrigerator, keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood tightly wrapped or in sealed containers on the bottom shelf to avoid dripping onto other foods.
- Be Mindful When Shopping: Place raw meat, poultry, and seafood in separate bags from other groceries.
3. Cook: Ensure Proper Temperatures
- Use a Food Thermometer: This is the only way to know if food is cooked to a safe internal temperature that kills harmful bacteria. Check the FDA’s Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures chart to ensure your foods are thoroughly cooked.
- Keep Food Hot After Cooking: Maintain hot foods at an internal temperature of 140°F or above until served. You can use a warming tray or slow cooker to keep food warm.
4. Chill: Refrigerate Promptly
- Refrigerate or Freeze Promptly: Bacteria grow rapidly between 40°F and 140°F. Never leave perishable food out for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour if the temperature is above 90°F).
- Know When to Throw Food Out: Use the FDA’s FoodKeeper app for guidance on how long to keep perishable foods refrigerated or frozen to maintain quality and safety.
- Organize Your Fridge: Ensure it is not over-packed. Cold air needs to circulate around foods to keep them properly chilled.
By following these simple yet powerful steps, we can all contribute to a healthier and safer eating environment. During this Food Safety Month, take a moment to reflect on your current food preparation routines and see where you can integrate these practices. Together, let’s make every meal a safe and enjoyable experience!
Remember, food safety is everyone’s business. Engage with us by sharing your food safety tips and experiences in the comments below. Let’s learn from each other and make food safety a priority, not just this month, but all year round!
National Food Safety Education Month is observed every September in the United States. It’s a time when health educators and consumers focus on effective ways to prevent foodborne illnesses. The FDA, along with other organizations, promotes food safety culture by educating the public on proper food handling practices.
Utilize a food thermometer to verify that meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs achieve the FDA’s recommended minimum safe cooking temperatures. This action is vital to eradicate dangerous bacteria that lead to foodborne diseases.
The FDA reaches out to the public to educate them on proper food preparation, cooking, shopping, and storage practices. It provides resources and information to make the public more aware of what goes into keeping food safe from contaminants and to promote a food safety culture.
For professional food safety needs, resources like food safety software and consulting services, such as FoodReady.ai, offer tools like HACCP builders, food traceability, custom checklists, and access to professional consultants. These resources can assist businesses in complying with food safety standards and preparing for audits.