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[Wellness Wednesday] Let’s Talk About Food Safety

Welcome back to Wellness Wednesday everyone! Since the holidays are fast approaching, I thought this might be a good time to talk about food safety.

Christmas Party Table - Let's Talk About Food Safety https://reclaiminghopewellness.comHere in the U.S. we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks, and people will be cooking (and eating) a lot. After that, we have Christmas, Hanukkah, the New Year celebration, and others, most of which include some type of meal or snacks. We definitely don’t want to give our guests a serving of food poisoning along with their meals, do we?

According to the US Department of Agriculture Food Safety website, there are four basic guidelines to keep food safe, whether you’re cooking for a crowd or just for your family:

  • Clean – Wash hands and surfaces often.
    • Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds (long enough to sing Happy Birthday twice) each time.
  • Separate – Don’t cross-contaminate.
    • Keep raw meat,  poultry, fish, and their juices away from other
    • After cutting raw meats, wash your hands,
      cutting board, knife, and counter tops with hot,
      soapy water.
    • Marinate meat and poultry in a covered dish in
      the refrigerator. If, like me, you use ZipLoc bags to marinate, place the closed bags in a container to prevent leaks. Also, put your raw meats or poultry on the bottom shelf to minimize contamination if something should leak out.
    • Sanitize your cutting boards by using a solution of 1
      teaspoon of chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water. I have separate cutting boards for meat and veggies, and they’re the one item I always wash in the dishwasher.
  • Cook – Cook to proper temperatures, checking with a food thermometer.
    • Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks,
      chops, and roasts to a minimum internal
      temperature of 145 °F (62.8 ºC) as measured
      with a food thermometer before removing meat
      from the heat source. For safety and quality,
      allow meat to rest for at least three minutes
      before carving or consuming. (This resting period not only keeps food safe, it will help meats stay juicy.)
    • Ground meat: Cook all raw ground beef, pork,
      lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of
      160 °F (71.1 ºC) as measured with a food
    • Poultry: Cook all poultry to an internal
      temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) as measured
      with a food thermometer.
  • Chill – Refrigerate promptly.
    • Always refrigerate perishable food within 2
      hours–1 hour when the temperature is above
      90 °F (32.2 ºC).
    • Check the temperature of your refrigerator
      and freezer with an appliance thermometer.
      The refrigerator should be at 40 °F (4.4 ºC)
      or below and the freezer at 0 °F (-17.7 ºC) or
    • Cook or freeze fresh poultry, fish, ground
      meats, and variety meats within 2 days; other
      beef, veal, lamb, or pork, within 3 to 5 days.

For a quick, at-a-glance resource to help keep food safe, I found this handy-dandy cheat sheet on Holiday Food Safety at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/shared/PDF/Holiday_Food_Safety_Tips.pdf and thought I’d share it with you:

Image 11-7-18 at 7.31 AM

For more information on food safety, as well as cold storage charts that show how long you can keep foods in the fridge or freezer, check out the USDA Food Safety website at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/basics-for-handling-food-safely

Whether we’re cooking for the holidays or just doing our regular day-to-day cooking, learning and implementing good food safety practices helps us avoid food borne illnesses and contributes to our overall wellness.

What are some things you do to make sure your food is safe? Please share!



** All guidelines taken from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/basics-for-handling-food-safely


    1. Thanks for your comment Amanda! With so many people getting sick from food borne illnesses these days, I figured it wouldn’t hurt for us to have a little refresher.😊 You’re absolutely right – no one needs food poisoning!

    1. Thanks for your comment Jeanne! With the holidays coming up and people cooking (and eating 😊) more, I figured it wouldn’t hurt for us to have a little reminder.

  1. The most important is always wash. That’s the one thing that I stress to my family. Thanks for sharing the part on when to refrigerate. That’s the one that I was always confused about. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Mark! Isn’t it amazing that such a simple thing – washing your hands – has such a huge impact? I’m glad you found the refrigeration info helpful. If you’re interested, the link I included has a chart that tells how long individual items are safe in the refrigerator and freezer. Blessings to you!

  2. I’m awful with knowing things like this and always get a little lost, going online to double check things ten times ‘just to make sure’! Food safety shouldn’t be underestimated, and this is an excellent resource, Terri! x

    1. Thanks so much Caz! I’m cautious almost to the point of being paranoid sometimes with food safety. It seems like we’re always hearing on the news about people getting sick, and knowing the simple things we can do to keep it from happening helps me feel much more comfortable cooking for others. 😊 Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Hugs!

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