Tag Archives: food safety

Happy and Healthy Summer Celebrations

Camping, barbecues, picnics, potlucks, and al fresco dining are popular summer pastimes. We love breaking bread and enjoying sunny weather together. All too often, nutrition and food safety take a backseat to enjoying these summer celebrations. But with these tips and recipes, your family can make memories that last a lifetime while still eating smart! Continue reading

Farmers Market Food Safety

As part of our #ESMMatFM series this summer, we’ve shared storage recommendations for fresh fruits and veggies, recipe suggestions for summer produce, cooking ideas for local foods, and tips for your first visit to a farmers market. Today, it’s all about keeping your farmers market purchases safe, from farm to table.

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Food Safety 101

It’s been a while since we’ve talked food safety here. It may not be glamorous but it’s important for keeping our families healthy and avoiding preventable illnesses. Food poisoning is no fun for anyone.

In school, the more I learned about food borne illnesses, my “germaphobe” tendencies kicked in, and the more freaked out I got. I felt like scrubbing down the entire kitchen with bleach if I cooked chicken for dinner and obsessed about how long food had sat out during family celebrations. Fortunately, I calmed down and am able to enjoy food prep without convincing myself I’d caught Salmonella from the eggs I scrambled for breakfast. What finally helped me relax and feel confident that I wasn’t going to die of food borne illness was following the 4 Steps for Food Safety.

Check Your Steps to keep food safe

Check Your Steps to keep food safe.

Step 1- Clean

Check Your Steps: Clean (video)

  • Wash your hands.
  • Wash your fruits and veggies.
  • Don’t wash your meat.
  • Wash cutting boards, knives, and counters before and after preparing food. Be sure to wash them again between preparing raw foods and ready-to-eat foods.

Step 2- Separate

Check Your Steps: Separate (video)

  • Keep raw meats and eggs away from ready-to-eat foods, like fruits and veggies, in the fridge, in the grocery cart, and while cooking.
  • Use separate cutting boards and knives when preparing raw foods, or wash before using with ready-to-eat foods.

Step 3- Cook

Check Your Steps: Cook (video)

  • Use a food thermometer.
  • Keep hot foods hot (at or above 140°F) and cold foods cold (less than 40°F).
  • Microwave foods to 165°F when reheating leftovers.

Step 4- Chill

Check Your Steps: Chill (video)

With these tips, you don’t have to be worried about food borne illness in your kitchen! This article also has some handy information about keep germs out of your food.

Do you know someone who could use some help with these steps? Please share this post with them!

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Dietetic Intern Courtney’s SNAP Challenge Day 4 and 5

Day 4: What about dinner?

Today I began my morning with a smoothie – milk, plain yogurt, a heaping spoon of peanut butter, the remaining ½ banana, and a tablespoon of sugar ($0.80). Today I had a Folgers’s instant coffee, too, with a splash of milk ($0.15).

My lunch consists of an egg salad sandwich made with 2 hard boiled eggs, salt, pepper, and mayo ($0.54). I’m also having leftovers from 2 nights ago as a snack– roasted carrots and sweet potato with some seasoned ground turkey.

Estimated Daily Total Day 4: $2.53
This day compared to MyPlate recommendations:

SNAP Challenge Day 4 MyPlate Comparison

Day 5: Blackout

Well, the power went out last night as a result of a “winter storm” that brought us several inches of snow. That really puts my meal plan to the test. Wow. I definitely didn’t plan for this; however, I assume that many people are unprepared for emergencies, including SNAP participants! A supply of non-perishable items would come in handy. Unfortunately, the only items I have that will survive without refrigeration are 1 can each of tuna and beans, peanut butter, carrots and an apple. I’m not quite sure what to do with my oatmeal, potato, and rice now that I have no way of cooking them.

My husband tried cooking an egg over candlelight last night which didn’t go very well. The leather-like product revealed that candlelight isn’t an option. The other items I have remaining are ½ bag of spinach, margarine, mayonnaise, milk, yogurt, raw ground turkey, and raw eggs. My meal plan has been tossed to the side and I’m now trying to figure out how I will get through the weekend if the power doesn’t return. The last time it went out due to a windstorm in July, we didn’t have power for almost a week. A representative of the power company told my husband on the phone that they estimate that it should be on by Tuesday – two days after the end of the challenge.

Honestly, I have thought about giving up and trying the challenge another week. Then I thought of people that may be experiencing this as a way of life and not as a weekly challenge. What if I was concerned about the remainder of the month’s food in my fridge versus only the next few days’ worth? That was enough to persuade my decision towards “toughing it out” so that I may experience a fraction of what could actually happen.

Anyway, last night’s supper was Wednesday’s leftovers— beans, rice, and spinach and rice pudding. I also had a small spinach salad with ranch dressing. ($0.22) After I ate the orange and ½ grapefruit as a snack ($0.82), I about kicked myself! Admittedly, it was an impulsive move. That leaves me with an apple as my only fruit serving for the remaining three days! It’s sinking in that I cannot go out and buy more produce because I’m running low on fruits and veggies.

SNAP Challenge 018

This morning I ate about a cup of yogurt with honey and a scoop full of oats ($0.72). I could have had about 2 more portions but I’m in rationing mode, especially due to this power-outage situation!

Later

Lunch was about 2-3 cups of Spinach, ¼ cup of black beans, and a couple tablespoons of ranch dressing ($0.72). I was hungry about 30 seconds after my last bite. Since I didn’t plan my meals beforehand today, I will have to wait until I return home. After my workout this afternoon, I expect to be one hungry, crabby girl!

Most of the perishable items are currently in the freezer awaiting their fate of spoilage. I’d imagine someone that was hungry and living in poverty may be more concerned with filling their belly than with food safety. Is it considered a luxury to throw out food because you are concerned that it may be unsafe? This is what’s on my mind tonight.

The following sources from foodsafety.gov and usda.gov were useful during this situation:

Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency
Refrigerated Food and Power Outages: When to Save and When to Throw Out 

Estimated Daily Total Day 5: $2.44
This day compared to MyPlate recommendations:
SNAP Challenge Day 5 MyPlate Comparison