To avoid food-borne illness
The methods you use to prepare and cook food can mean the difference between a savory meal and a bout with food poisoning.The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse offers these suggestions to help prevent food-borne illness:
- Make sure that all foods -- especially meats -- are cooked thoroughly at a sufficient temperature. Use a meat thermometer to help you decide when food is properly cooked.
- Wash your hands well with warm, soapy water before and after handling food.
- Don't allow food to reach room temperature if it is supposed to be served hot or cold.
- When reheating food, heat it to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Always let food marinate in the refrigerator, never on the counter.
- Don't leave any food out for more than two hours. Either refrigerate or freeze leftovers, or throw them away after two hours.
- Don't allow food to thaw at room temperature. Ideally, let it thaw over time in the refrigerator. For a quick defrost, run the food under cool water or put it in the microwave.
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