Mr. Mom - Part 2 (Cooking / Food Safety)

Here's the real important parts. Our house can be a mess and that isn't going to make anyone get sick, but raw chicken juice or old milk can cause food poisoning in a hot second.

I have a strict expiration date policy, if it’s past the date- it’s in the trash. No questions. When I open something that will be used beyond today, I check the expiration date, and the back for the “USE WITHIN 5-7 DAYS OF OPENING”. Just because the milk says good until 11/15/2013, doesn’t mean that it is good that long! I have been getting my Sharpie out and writing the ACTUAL open package date on things like cheese, juice, hummus, etc…

Most of the items are only good for 7 days past the open date-
Salsa, Juice, Cream Cheese, Shredded cheese, Milk, Pasta Sauce.

Oh boy, here's the tough part. This is going to have to be hands-on lesson. I think Mike knows how to cook, he just prefers not to. I may try to still prepare some meals, but he is good at making pasta and pizza, and he is excellent and getting take out!


Clean - Wash hands and surfaces often
Why it matters
Illness-causing bacteria can survive in many places around your kitchen, including your hands, utensils, and cutting boards.
Unless you wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces the right way, you could spread bacteria to your food, and your family.
Follow these top tips to keep your family safe
  • Wash hands the right way—for 20 seconds with soap and running water.
  • Wash surfaces and utensils after each use.
  • Wash fruits and veggies—but not meat, poultry, or eggs!
Separate - Don’t cross-contaminate
  • Use separate cutting boards and plates for produce and for meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
  • Keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods at the grocery.
  • Keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods in the fridge.
Cook - Cook to the right temperature
  • Use a food thermometer.
  • Keep food hot after cooking (at 140 ˚F or above).
  • Microwave food thoroughly (to 165 ˚F).

Chill - Refrigerate promptly
  • Refrigerate perishable foods within two hours. Cold temperatures slow the growth of illness causing bacteria. So it’s important to chill food promptly and properly.
  • Never thaw or marinate foods on the counter. Many people are surprised at this tip. But since bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature, thawing or marinating foods on the counter is one of the riskiest things you can do when preparing food for your family.
  • Know when to throw food out. You can’t tell just by looking or smelling whether harmful bacteria has started growing in your leftovers or refrigerated foods.
How to Prevent Salmonella
·       Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from other foods in your grocery shopping cart.
·       Use plastic or other nonporous (not wood) cutting boards, and wash them in the dishwasher or in hot soapy water after each use. Use a different cutting board for raw meat products than you use for other foods.
·       If you use cloth towels, don't use them for another purpose until they've been washed in the hot cycle of your washing machine. Sponges can hold bacteria, so clean them well in hot soapy water and change them often.
·       Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
·       Wipe up meat juices with a paper towel, spray the counter with an anti-bacterial cleaner, and wipe clean with another paper towel.  Don’t use a dish cloth for this job, it’s not worth risking someone washing the dishes or the table with this contaminated cloth.
·       Use two cutting boards when cutting up meat and veggies.  One for the meat, a different one for the veggies.  Washing cutting boards carefully with hot soapy water between uses.  Never cut raw vegetables on the meat cutting board.
·       Avoid cleaning up raw meat juices with a sponge since germs get trapped in the sponge creating a breeding ground for bacteria.  And if you do get raw meat juices in your sponge, rinse in hot soapy water, then microwave the sponge for 1 minute.  Be careful when removing, let it cool to the touch first.
·       And after handling raw meat be sure and wash your hands vigorously with warm soapy water for at least one minutes.  And be careful to clean up under those long acrylic fingernails as they can be completely missed during hand washing.
·       Wash all utensils that touch raw meat, like platters or plates, with hot soapy water before placing the cooked meat back on.
·       Store raw meat on the lower shelf of the fridge, and raw vegetables on the higher shelves, to protect against mean drips or spills contaminating those raw veggies. 

Food Safety Myths Exposed
We all do our best to serve our families food that’s safe and healthy, but some common myths about food safety might surprise you.
Common myths about food safety at home
Myth #1: Food poisoning isn’t that big of a deal. I just have to tough it out for a day or two and then it’s over.
Fact: Many people don’t know it, but some foodborne illnesses can actually lead to long-term health conditions, and 3,000 Americans a year die from foodborne illness. Get the facts on long-term effects of food poisoning.

Myth #2: It’s OK to thaw meat on the counter. Since it starts out frozen, bacteria isn’t really a problem.
Fact: Actually, bacteria grow surprisingly rapidly at room temperatures, so the counter is never a place you should thaw foods. Instead, thaw foods the right way.

Myth #3: When cleaning my kitchen, the more bleach I use, the better. More bleach kills more bacteria, so it’s safer for my family.
Fact: There is actually no advantage to using more bleach than needed. To clean kitchen surfaces effectively, use just one teaspoon of liquid, unscented bleach to one quart of water. 

Myth #4: I don’t need to wash fruits or vegetables if I’m going to peel them.
Fact: Because it’s easy to transfer bacteria from the peel or rind you’re cutting to the inside of your fruits and veggies, it’simportant to wash all produce, even if you plan to peel it.

Myth #5: To get rid of any bacteria on my meat, poultry, or seafood, I should rinse off the juices with water first.
Fact: Actually, rinsing meat, poultry, or seafood with water can increase your chance of food poisoning by splashing juices (and any bacteria they might contain) onto your sink and counters. The best way to cook meat, poultry, or seafood safely is to make sure you cook it to the right temperature.

Myth #6: The only reason to let food sit after it’s been microwaved is to make sure you don’t burn yourself on food that’s too hot.
Fact: In fact, letting microwaved food sit for a few minutes (“standing time”) helps your food cook more completely by allowing colder areas of food time to absorb heat from hotter areas of food. 

Myth #7: Leftovers are safe to eat until they smell bad.
Fact: The kinds of bacteria that cause food poisoning do not affect the look, smell, or taste of food. To be safe, use our Safe Storage Times chart to make sure you know the right time to throw food out.

Myth #8: Once food has been cooked, all the bacteria have been killed, so I don’t need to worry once it’s “done.”
Fact: Actually, the possibility of bacterial growth actually increases after cooking, because the drop in temperature allows bacteria to thrive. This is why keeping cooked food warmed to the right temperature is critical for food safety.

Myth #9: Marinades are acidic, which kills bacteria—so it’s OK to marinate foods on the counter.
Fact: Even in the presence of acidic marinade, bacteria can grow very rapidly at room temperatures. To marinate foods safely, it’s important to marinate them in the refrigerator.

Myth #10: If I really want my produce to be safe, I should wash fruits and veggies with soap or detergent before I use them.
Fact: In fact, it’s best not to use soaps or detergents on produce, since these products can linger on foods and are not safe for consumption. Using clean running water is actually the best way to remove bacteria and wash produce safely.

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