By - September 1, 2015

These tips can help you stay food safe

Food Safety

Since 1994, September has been designated as National Food Safety Month to heighten the awareness of food safety education. Help keep yourself, family and friends safe by increasing your food safety knowledge and using these tips at home to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Don’t rely on how food looks as it’s cooking — use a thermometer to make sure it’s cooked to the correct temperature. Poultry is properly cooked when a thermometer reads 165 F*. Ground meat should be cooked to 160 F. Cook seafood to 145 F.

*Note: Publix adds an extra amount of protection and cooks poultry to 180 F.

Remove food and other dirt by washing your cutting boards, dishes and utensils in hot, soapy water. Go the extra step to remove germs by using a sanitizing wipe on counter tops and other surfaces. And, don’t forget to wash your hands before and after handling food.

Refrigerate prepared foods and leftovers within two hours. Bacteria grows more rapidly at warmer temperatures, and keeping your refrigerator temperature at 40 F or below helps slow their growth. Be careful not to overstuff your refrigerator, and thaw frozen food in the refrigerator, not on the counter.

Separate raw and ready-to-eat foods to avoid spreading germs. Store ready-to-eat food above raw meat, seafood and poultry. Clean and sanitize food-contact surfaces between tasks, and avoid bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat food.

Sources: www.foodsafety.gov, www.foodsafetymonth.com

Visit www.foodsafety.gov to learn more about how you can help keep food — and your family — safe throughout the year.