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Food Prep Safety and You

Hello fellow foodies!

Have you recently become suspicious of food source safety?

You may have wondered: What if the person hovering over the peppers is sick and doesn’t know it? Or what if the grocery store employee stocking the shelves or gathering the pick-up groceries has a low grade fever that started during their shift? Short of creating a high-tech disinfectant chamber, how do we protect ourselves and our loved ones?

Take-out food containers are historically carriers of contaminants. So regardless of a recent pandemic, other illnesses, or seasons, food borne illnesses are major concerns because they can send you to the hospital. Still grabbing take-out to eat at home? Here are some tips on how to stay safe:

· Choose hot meal entrees. Hot foods can be heated enough to kill most viruses and bacteria. This is also a good idea for dine in options at restaurants.

· As soon as you get home, transfer the food into a bowl or plate to heat it up again. Serving hot food right out the oven has never been more important!

· Immediately throw away outer packaging and wash your hands.

· When serving the food, a server (wearing a mask—see more tips below) should serve the food already plated rather than a buffet style dinner spread.

Whether preparing your own dinner or simply serving food at home, keep the Hands, Mouth, Knees and Toes tips in mind:

Hands: Thoroughly wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Additionally, when preparing food for non-family members, wear food gloves (if available). Most people appreciate this little extra precaution. Just be sure to change the gloves when working with foods that should be kept separate due to cross-contamination concerns, such as raw meat and fresh produce or vegetables.

Mouth: Because someone infected with a virus or infection may be asymptomatic, meaning they don’t show signs of being sick, it is important to make sure precautions are taken when making food for others. Wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose will keep microscopic spit from falling on the food others will be ingesting. Not a pretty picture, but you get the point.

Knees: Get on your hands and knees to keep your kitchen clean by scrubbing and sanitizing surfaces. Scrubbing involves soap or detergent and water to remove food spills from counters, stoves, and refrigerators. Sanitizing involves using a solution to reduce germs. Sanitize whenever someone forgets to cover their cough or sneeze, a sick person touches surfaces in the kitchen or bathroom, or raw meat juices spills or touches a surface. You can make your own homemade solution with 1 tablespoon bleach mixed with 1 gallon water.

Toes: Taking care of your food properly can keep you on your toes. Here are tips for food prep safety:

Keep working surfaces and utensils clean.

Separate raw meats from produce.

Keep your refrigerator at or below

40 degrees Fahrenheit and refrigerate

leftovers within 2 hours in shallow containers.

Thaw your frozen food properly.

Thaw in the refrigerator, cold water, or microwave.

Use a thermometer to ensure food reaches a safe temperature when cooking.

Make sure you do your part to keep your food safe and bon appetit!

Keep Safe,

Your Expert Hostess Friends

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