Food Safety Week falls from June 5th to June 11th, and World Food Safety Day occurs during this period, too. It’s a week of learning more about the importance of food safety, preventing foodborne illnesses, and taking better care of your health when it comes to purchasing, storing, and preparing food. Here are a few things to know about food safety and how in-home care can help.
Shop With Care
The first step to preventing foodborne illnesses starts during the shopping trip. If your dad is purchasing seafood, he needs to make sure the seafood section smells okay. If he smells strong fishy odors or ammonia, there’s a problem.
When purchasing vegetables, he should check that they’re ripe and not starting to rot. Some bruising is okay, but if there are spots he can put his finger into, he needs to skip it and choose something else.
Before purchasing greens, he should check recalls first. Spinach and lettuce often go through recalls for foodborne illnesses like E. coli. Frozen strawberries have been another recent recall, so frozen isn’t always the better option.
Where do you find these recalls? The government has several sites available for food safety recalls. Look at the FDA’s Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts page. FoodSafety.gov also has a page on food recalls.
Put Groceries Away in Time
Put groceries away before they have time to spoil. Generally, meats and dairy items need to be back in refrigeration within two hours of their purchase. If your dad has a lot of errands to run, he should bring a cooler and buy ice to store items until he’s back home. Frozen items may not last that long, so a second cooler for frozen items is helpful.
It’s often better to run errands first and make a grocery trip the final stop. That way, items aren’t sitting in the back of the vehicle for hours before you get home.
Cook Meats to the Proper Temperatures
Cook all meats to the proper temperatures. Poultry needs to be 165 F, including ground poultry. Hamburgers and other ground red meats need to reach 160 F. Steaks, veal, and pork should be at least 145 F. The same 145 F is the recommendation for fish.
If you’re having a cookout, keep meats in the refrigerator until it’s time to cook them. Don’t leave them on a counter to marinate. Once they’re cooked, put leftovers away right after eating.
Keep Dairy and Eggs Refrigerated
Salads and items containing dairy and eggs also need to be kept refrigerated. Only eggs purchased straight from the farm that haven’t been washed can be stored on the counter. Once the shells are washed, they must be refrigerated.
Have you thought about having in-home care services like food preparation and light housekeeping available for your dad? It’s important if he has a hard time shopping on his own, preparing meals, and cleaning up after. Learn more about in-home care by talking to an advisor in senior home care services.
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