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What You Should Know To Keep You and Your Family Safe

While September was National Food Safety Month, our blogger Kirsten Romero didn’t come across these Food Safety Tips to share with you until the end of the month. She thought these tips were “spot on” and so we decided to share them with you after the fact!  Take them to heart and stay well!

Anyone can get sick from foodborne illness, but older adults are at higher risk since their immune systems don’t work as well as they once did.a

Follow these four food safety steps to reduce the risk of foodborne illness:

Clean-Wash your hands, utensils, and food preparation surfaces often.

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before, during, and after preparing food and before eating.
  • Clean surfaces with hot soapy water.

Separate-Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread germs and should be kept separate from cooked food and fresh produce.

Cook-Use a food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to the right temperature.

Chill-Refrigerate perishable foods and leftovers within two hours.

What about the kitchen sponge?

  • Clean sponges daily: toss in the dishwasher with a heated dry cycle or microwave for one minute.
  • Replace sponges often. If your sponge smells at any time, throw it out.
  • Wring out sponges after use and rinse off loose food. Store in a dry location.
  • Don’t wipe up meat juices with a sponge, because you may spread harmful bacteria.
  • Don’t use sponges on your countertop; use a paper towel or disinfectant wipe instead.
  • If you use dishcloths, wash them often in a hot water laundry cycle followed by high heat in the dryer.

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About the Author

Kirsten Romero, MS, RDN, is a registered dietitian with the wellness program at Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia.