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article imageWant to avoid food poisoning this summer? Try this FoodKeeper App

By Karen Graham     May 27, 2016 in Food
With the Memorial Day weekend set to begin at the end of the workday, Americans are already deep into their plans for picnics and cookouts as part of the holiday activities. The USDA reminds all of us that food safety does not take a vacation.
Warm weather traditionally brings out all kinds of summer activities, from family reunions to impromptu neighborhood gatherings, and with these activities, we also include all the traditional foods associated with summer fun.
Food-borne pathogens are not so particular about what time of the year they pop up, striking the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems particularly hard. Summer is the perfect time of year for these party-poopers to show up uninvited to your cookout.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is urging all of us to remember four simple food safety rules this summer, and to steer clear of the "Danger Zone" while cooking outdoors.
Four simple steps to food safety
The four steps in food safety include Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. And each word speaks for itself. But let's look at them separately:
1. - Clean: Make sure to always wash your hands and surfaces with soap and warm water before cooking and after handling raw meat or poultry during cooking. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and work spaces with soap and warm water too.
2. - Separate: When taking food off the grill, use a clean platter. Don't put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry. Any harmful bacteria present in the raw meat juices could contaminate safely cooked food.
3. - Cook: Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of burgers, steaks, chicken, and foods containing meat or poultry.
4. - Chill: After a cookout, place leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate or freeze immediately. Discard food left in the Danger Zone too long. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out!
Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of burgers  steaks  chicken  and foo...
Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of burgers, steaks, chicken, and foods containing meat or poultry.
Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, Al Almanza wants all Americans to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend and get out and enjoy the warm days of summer, too. But he also says, “It’s important to remember that bacteria grow faster in the same warm temperatures, so extra care should be taken to make sure perishable food doesn’t spend too long in the Danger Zone."
At temperatures between 40 and 140 ˚F, perishable food spoils rapidly. Foods that should be served hot or cold should not spend more than one hour in the Danger Zone when temperatures are above 90 ˚F, and two hours when temperatures are below 90 ˚F. Some simple, common-sense steps will ensure your family's meal can be enjoyed without anyone getting sick.
Do you have a food safety question? There's an App for that
The USDA's FoodKeeper App was developed by the FSIS in collaboration with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute. The App tells users how to store food and beverages to take advantage of their freshness and quality, helping to promote food safety while also reducing food waste.
The FoodKeeper application offers users valuable storage advice about more than 400 food and beverage items, including various types of baby food, dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood, and more. The FoodKeeper App also links to FSIS’ other digital resources, such as AskKaren, a very useful application that is available 24/7. You can get an answer to just about any food safety question.
Consumers can also call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline and speak with a live representative, in English or Spanish, at 1-888-674-6854. The important thing to remember about food safety is this - Any time you have a question about feed safety, the USDA is there to answer your questions, day or night.
More about summer cooking, Food poisoning, foodkeeper app, danger zone, four steps
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