Keep your foods fresh. Here are some simple kitchen hacks to keep you healthy and safe from bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.
Foodborne illness is a public health problem, according to the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), foodborne illness is common, costly and preventable. Every year, one in six Americans get sick from contaminated foods or beverages and 3,000 people die.
Here are some super simple kitchen hacks to keep you healthy:
- Keep the temperature in your fridge at 40 °F.
- Avoid “overpacking.” Don’t have a cluttered fridge. If it’s cluttered, declutter it. Cold air must circulate around refrigerated foods to keep them properly chilled.
- Wipe up spills immediately before they have a chance to dry. Listeria bacteria can grow at refrigerated temperatures so it’s important to get rid of spills immediately — especially drips from thawing meats — will help prevent “cross-contamination,” where bacteria from one food spread to another. If your fridge has a meat compartment, keep them there. If not, store them on the lowest shelf on a rimmed plate. (Don’t forget to wash your hands.)
- Keep food covered: Store refrigerated foods in covered containers or sealed storage bags, and check leftovers daily for spoilage.
- Check expiration dates on foods. If food is past its “use by” date, throw it out. If you’re not sure or if the food looks questionable, the simple rule is: “When in doubt, throw it out.”
- #Take15Minutes and clean the fridge out frequently and keep it wiped clean. Make this task part of your kitchen cleaning routine!
- Refrigerate foods quickly. Whether you’re dealing with leftovers or groceries you just purchased, it’s important to get foods that need refrigeration into your fridge fast. Never allow raw meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, or produce that requires refrigeration to sit at room temperature for more than two hours; the limit is one hour if the air temperature is above 90 °F.
The 2 Hour Rule
Kitchen Hacks to Keep You Healthy: Leaving perishable foods out for two hours or more allows bacteria to multiply rapidly — and can put you at serious risk of contracting foodborne illness. Don’t leave your groceries in your car never more than 2 hours (or 1 hour on a hot day).
- Leftovers. These need to be refrigerated or frozen within two hours, as well. Despite what some people believe, putting hot food in the refrigerator doesn’t harm the appliance. To help hot food cool faster, divide leftovers into smaller containers before putting them in the refrigerator.
- Doggie bags and take-out foods. The “two-hour rule” applies to carry-home foods. Leftovers from takeout or restaurant meals need to go into the refrigerator within two hours at most. If you can’t get home within two hours after eating out, don’t request a doggie bag.
- Marinated foods. Always keep food in the refrigerator while it’s marinating. Bacteria can multiply rapidly in foods left to marinate at room temperature. Never reuse marinating liquid as a sauce unless you bring it to a rapid boil first.
Source: US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
What kitchen hacks do you use? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the conversation section below. As always, thank you for your time.
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Healthy Design Element: Space–Keep your fridge clean and uncluttered. Keep healthy and safe from foodborne illnesses with these simple kitchen hacks.
Healthy Design Action: Keep your fridge clean, don’t cross-contaminate foods. Remember the 2 hour rule and when in doubt, throw it out!
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