By Jennifer Kerr, MS, RD
Bacteria (germs) are all around us. Some germs can make you and your children ill. Colds
and flu spread from person to person through unwashed hands and surfaces. Food can be
easily contaminated by germs on hands and surfaces, causing various food-borne illnesses.
Follow these tips to make sure your family members are using good hand washing and food
1) Hand washing and cleaning. Frequently clean hands, surfaces and utensils.
Wash hands in warm soapy water for 30 seconds. Encourage children to sing the
ABC’s while washing.
Wash hands before handling food or eating a meal or snack, and after handling
food, using the restroom, touching a pet, coughing, sneezing, etc.
Wash kitchen tools and surfaces in hot soapy water after every use.
Make hand washing easy for kids! Post a reminder in the restroom and placing a
stepping stool near the sink for little ones.
2) Separate raw and cooked food. Prevent bacteria from spreading from food to food.
Keep raw meat, fish and poultry sealed in containers or food storage bags so their juices will not leak out.
Wash hands, utensils and surfaces after contact with raw meat, fish or poultry.
Do not place cooked food on the same plate or cutting board as raw food.
3) Chill food fast. Cold temperatures help keep bacteria from growing.
Make sure your refrigerator is maintained at 40°F or less and your freezer is maintained at 0°F. Do not rely on your
temperature dial; an appliance thermometer can be left inside each to monitor the temperature. For more information visit
the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/NR_051905_01/index.asp
Chill perishable and cooked foods within 2 hours of cooking to avoid temperatures of 40°F-140°F.
Store leftover cooked foods in small shallow containers so that they cool faster.
4) Cook foods to a safe temperature. Kill bateria by cooking foods properly.
Use a clean meat thermometer. For a guide to proper cooking temperatures visit: http://www.fightbac.org/content/view/93/2/
Cook eggs until yolk and whites are firm
Cook fish until it flakes with a fork and is no longer shiny
Reheat leftovers to 165°