Food Safety 101

     A year ago I took a food safety class and became certified in the safe handling of food.  Periodically, I will be sharing helpful hints and tidbits of information necessary to keep your loved ones safe.
     This isn’t the most pleasant subject, but it’s extremely important! Did you know that E.coli bacteria is in 25% of ground beef in the United States? E.coli is a surface bacteria that through grinding, incorporates the bacteria throughout the meat. The good news is that when cooked to the proper 155′ internal temperature, it does not survive.
     What does this mean? Number one NEVER serve ground beef rare or even pink to small children, pregnant women, older adults, or someone with a compromised immune system. There is a simple way to be sure you’ve cooked ground beef properly and that is an instant read thermometer. They run about $10 and can be found at Target or most any kitchen supply store.  Simply inject the thermometer in to the center part of the hamburger for 30-60 seconds and get a reading of 155′ or higher, and you’re good. When cooking steaks that are seared or grilled, you needn’t worry as the bacteria doesn’t survive the cooking on the surface.  It is ok to serve pink steak to children, etc.
     Additionally, be very careful when you are handling ANY raw meats. Designate a section on your counter for handling raw meats, and if possible, designate another section for vegetables and ready to eat items as they do not go through a cooking process to make them safe.
     Last but not least, wash your hands with hot water and plenty of soap for 20 seconds before, during, and after handling raw meats.
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