This bad boy is E.coli 0157:H7 sometimes called the hamburger bug and you may get it or any of many other nice buggies if you're not careful out there this weekend. The above E.coli can cause renal failure and even death. Not just a little stomach upset but death. Yes, I'm trying to get your attention.
It is up to you to keep your friends, family and children safe from these things. It is not that hard but after every major holiday I see many children with food poisoning. Fortunately most case are self-limiting meaning they get well. But it is all avoidable.
There are a lot of safety tips that should obey this weekend but since this is a cooking blog, I will concentrate on the food related ones. This is not a comprehensive list but just some good reminders.
- Unwashed hands and surfaces are a prime cause of foodborne illnesses. Hot soapy water is your friend.
- Cross-contamination is the most common cause of foodborne illnesses. Keep food prep away from serving areas.
- Bacteria multiply rapidly between 40 and 140 °F.
- Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables.
- Thaw meat in the refrigerator not the kitchen counter. About 5 hours per pound so plan ahead.
- Marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Do not use the marinade for anything else, it is contaminated. If you want to use it on the meat during cooking reserve some separately before adding the food.
- Wash plates, utensils, and cutting boards that touched raw meat or poultry before using again.
Cooking temperatures: These are the minimum safe temperatures.
More safe temperature information at The USDA
- Cold foods: If set out then no longer than 2 hours or 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees. Or you can keep them cooled to 40 degrees or less.
- Hot food should be kept at or above 140°F.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftover foods promptly. If over the time limits then discard.
More food safety information at The FDA.
From "Hill Street Blues" Sergeant Phil Esterhaus:
Hey, let's be careful out there.