When you're out, grocery shop
last, take food straight home to the refrigerator. And never
leave food in a hot car! Don't buy anything you won't use before
the use-by date. Don't buy food in poor condition. Make sure
refrigerated food is cold to the touch. Frozen food should be
rock-solid. Canned goods should be free of dents, cracks or bulging
lids which can indicate a serious food poisoning threat.
The performance and maintenance
of your refrigerator is of the utmost importance. Check the temperature
of your refrigerator with an appliance thermometer. To keep bacteria
in check, the refrigerator should run at 40 degrees F; the freezer
unit at 0 degrees F. Generally, keep your refrigerator as cold
as possible without freezing your milk or lettuce. When you prepare
food, keep everything clean and thaw out any frozen food you
plan to prepare in your refrigerator. Take it out of the freezer
in advance and place it in the refrigerated section of your refrigerator.
Always wash your hands in hot soapy water before preparing and
handling any food as well as after you use the bathroom, change
diapers, handle pets, etc. Remember, too, that bacteria can live
in your kitchen towels, sponges and dish cloths. Wash them often
and replace the dish cloths and sponges you use regularly every
Be absolutely sure that you
keep all raw meats, poultry and fish and their juices away from
other food. For instance, wash your hands, your cutting board
and knife in hot soapy water after cutting up the chicken and
before dicing salad ingredients. It is best to use plastic cutting
boards rather than wooden ones where bacteria can hide in grooves.
Don't take your food out of the freezer and leave it on the kitchen
counter to thaw. This is extremely dangerous since the bacteria
can grow in the outer layers of the food before the inside thaws.
It is wise to do your marinating in the refrigerator too.