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Food Safety Mythbusters!

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Written by Role Mommy Contributor Danielle Feigenbaum

I've never been a big cook, but now that I have a family I do my very best to put a home cooked meal on the table for dinner every night. One thing I am crazy about, is food safety. I am the person who throws something out the minute after the expiration date, washes my hands with antibacterial soap three times after I touch eggs or uncooked meat, and re-washes lettuce that's been pre-washed. However; I admit that I don't REALLY know all the rules when it comes to food safety. So, let's get to the bottom of it and debunk some of those myths.

MYTH #1: "If I microwave food, the microwaves kill the bacteria, so the food is safe."
FACT: HARMFUL BACTERIA MAY REMAIN
Harmful bacteria may remain if food heats unevenly.
Be sure to follow cooking instructions including rotating, stirring, and letting food stand when indicated.

MYTH #2: "Of course I wash all bagged lettuce and greens because it might make me sick if I don't."
FACT: YOU DON'T HAVE TO WASH PRE-WASHED GREENS
While it is important to thoroughly wash most fruits and vegetables, if packaged greens are labeled "ready-to-eat," "washed," or "triple washed" then the product does NOT need to be washed at home.

MYTH #3: "I don't need to use a food thermometer. I can tell when my food is cooked by looking at it or checking the temperature with my finger."
FACT: YOU NEED TO USE A FOOD THERMOMETER
Color, texture and steaming are not indicators that a food is safe to eat. The only sure way to know food is safely cooked is to use a food thermometer.

MYTH #4: "I can't re-freeze foods after I have thawed them - I have to cook them or throw them away."
FACT: RAW FOODS MAY BE SAFELY RE-FROZEN
If raw foods have been thawed in the refrigerator, they may be safely re-frozen without cooking for later use. Never re-freeze foods that have been thawed in the microwave or in cool water. Never thaw raw foods by letting them sit on the kitchen counter.

Food safety is so important. When you know how to prepare your food safely, you and your family can avoid getting sick. Let us know what you do to keep your family safe when it comes to preparing food, share your tips!

To further explore tools and other educational materials on food safety you can visit:
fightbac.org
www.foodsafety.gov/

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Posted in: Blog, Everyday Health Corner on 10/04/2012

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