Little Rock (KATV) — Summer is here and on Good Afternoon Arkansas, KATV's Brenda Lepenski spoke with Anni Fuenmayor with the Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center to discuss simple ways to keep our foods safe at cookouts and why it is important!
Food Safety is important because it can help prevent foodborne illnesses. Foodborne illnesses can result in an upset stomachache or even worse, hospitalization.
This is especially true in food-illness vulnerable populations:
- Adults age 65 and older.
- Children younger than 5 years.
- People whose immune systems are weakened due to illness or medical treatment.
- Pregnant and lactating women
- Anni says food safety focuses on 4 basic principles with food that we can use daily.
- Always remember the first step in food safety is: Wash your hands! It just takes 20 seconds (for example-singing the Happy Birthday song in your head)
- Wash all your produce even if you will peel it.
- Defrost Safely. Thaw frozen beef, poultry or fish safely in the refrigerator, cold water or a microwave oven. Cook immediately after thawing.
- Avoid Cross Contamination. Prepare raw meat and vegetables using different cutting boards.
- When grilling use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked meat as well as keeping poultry and ready-to-eat foods separate.
- Check Internal Temperatures. Meats cooked on a grill brown quickly on the outside, which can be misleading – the insides may not have reached a high enough temperature to be appropriately cooked – that is, not heated up enough to ensure all bacteria would be killed. Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature by using a food thermometer. For more information about specific food temperatures, you can visit the CDC, or the USDA website for food safety.
- Use Food Thermometers Correctly on Burgers. Insert the thermometer through the side of patty until the probe reaches the center.
- Beware of the Danger Zone. Bacteria multiply rapidly between 41 F and 135 F—a.k.a. the Danger Zone. USDA recommends that perishable food be consumed or refrigerated within two hours (one hour in room or outdoor temperatures of 90 F and above).
- Any leftovers you plan to save, should be cooled and refrigerated within 2 hours.
- Store Leftovers Properly. Divide leftovers into smaller portions and place them in shallow containers in your refrigerator or cooler. This helps them cool down to a safe temperature more quickly when they get into the cooler.
- Keep It Cool. Pack coolers with ice bags, gel packs or frozen water bottles. Use an appliance thermometer to monitor that food stays chilled at 41 F or below
- And try to eat your leftovers within 7 days
The Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center is 1 of 6 national human nutrition research centers funded by the USDA, and 1 of only 2 focused on studying the impact of nutrition in children’s growth and development.
Their research is truly translational. That means there are studies with microscopes and traditional scientific labs; there are clinical studies that involve children and mothers to study how nutrition and physical activity impact growth and development; and there are community-based studies that take the best evidence we know from the lab and the clinic to real-world settings where people live, work, and play.
Pregnant women, babies and children, up to age 10 who are interested, can find out more about their studies by calling (501) 364-3309 or visiting www.archildrens.org/ACNC.