Daily Archives: July 23, 2010

FOOD safety PSA

Hey folks!  Happy happy Friday.  Boy am I glad the weekend is here!  As some of you know…I’m currently taking a lovely class at NYU called “Food Microbiology”.  Believe me, it’s as exciting as it sounds (not at all).  However, there is definitely some big takeaways healthwise from the class that I want to impart with you.

Summer is by far the easiest time to get food poisoning.  Bacteria grow much better in hot, humid weather, and many summer foods lend themselves to bacterial growth.  For example, all those mayo-laden salads I’ve been warning you about — well not only are they totally unhealthy and artery-clogging, they present the perfect growth environment for our lovely friends, salmonella and listeria.  Any foods that are rich in fats will promote bacterial growth.  Here are a few simple rules that will keep you healthy, happy, and food-poisoning free.  Because let’s be honest, food poisoning is truly a buzzkill.

  • Keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold.

This is a pretty easy concept, but really is important.  The temperature danger zone is between 40 degrees Fahreinheit and 140 degrees Fahreinheit.  Any food that is within this zone for 4 hours MUST BE THROWN out.  Otherwise you could get really sick!  So cold foods need to be kept refrigerated and hot foods need to be kept warm so they stay out of this zone and are safe to eat.

  • Chicken, meat, and fish always need to be cooked all the way through.

Chicken should not have any pink in it when cut through.  Fish should be opaque all the way through (unless it’s sushi).  Meat has different coloring depending on how long you want to cook it: rare will be reddish in color, medium rare will be pink and well done meat will have no pink whatsoever.  If you want to be super careful — meat thermometers are really cheap and can be helpful too – chicken should read 165 to be done, meat will read around 160, and fish should read about 145.

  • Always wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before using.

This seems like a total no-brainer, but fruits and vegetables have been handled by several people before they get to your fridge.  So be extra careful and give them a good rinse!

  • Wash your HANDS!

Is it just me or have I seen TOO many people simply leave the restroom without ever washing.  That’s just gross.  I know that YOU are probably not one of those people, but even when you’re in a rush, make sure to use soap and HOT water.

Those are my tips!  Have a great weekend folks and keep posted for some new, fresh, low-cal bbq recipes coming your way!