Dec 25, 2010 No Comments
That’s sensible, especially because you’re trying to eat safely for two.But what about the sponge you’re about to wipe that peach down with (the one that’s been hanging around your sink for the last three weeks)?
Have you thought about what that might have picked up lately?and the cutting board you were planning to slice your peach on-isn’t that the same one you diced that raw chicken on last night before you tossed it into the stir-fry?
Here’s a food safety reality check: A more immediate-and proven-threat than the chemicals in your food are little organisms, bacteria and parasites, that can contaminate it. It’s not a pretty picture (or one that’s visible without the help of a microscope), but these nasty bugs can cause anything from mild stomach upset to serve illness.To make sure that the worst thing you’ll pick up from your meal is a little heartburn (the last thing an expectant mom needs is another reason for gastrointestinal upset) , shop, prepare and eat with care:
- When in doubt, throw it out. Make this your mantra of safe eating. It applies to any food you even suspect might be spoiled. Read and abide by freshness dates on food packages.
- When food shopping, avoid fish, meat, and eggs that are not well refrigerator or kept on ice. Steer clear of jars that are leaky or don’t “pop” when you open them and cans that are rusty or seems swollen or otherwise misshappen. Wash can tops before opening (and wash your can opener frequently in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher).
- Wash your hand before handling food and after touching raw meat, fish or eggs. If you have a cut on your hand, wear rubber or plastic gloves while you prepare food, and remember, unless they’re disposable,the gloves need to be washed as of ten as your bare hands.
- Keep kitchen counters and sinks clean.Same goes for cutting boards (wash with soap and hot water or in the dishwasher). Wash dishclothes frequently and keep sponges clean (replace them often, wash them in dishwasher each night, or periodically pop dampened ones into the microwave for a couple of minutes);they can harbor bacteria.
- Serve hot foods hot, cold foods cold. Leftovers should be refrigerated quickly and heated until steaming before reusing. (Toss perishable foods that have been left out for more than two hours.) Don’t eat frozen foods that have been thawed and then refrozen.
- Measure the fridge interior temperature with a refrigerator thermometer and be sure it says at 41 degree F or less. Ideally,the freezer should be at 0 degree F, though many freezers are not designed to meet that requirement; don’t worry if your’s isn’t.
- Thaw foods in the refrigerator, time permitting. If you’re in a rush, thaw food in a watertight plastic bag submereged in cold water (and change it every 3o minutes). Never thaw foods at room temperature.
- Marinate meat, fish or poultry in the refrigerator, no on the counter. Discard the marinade after use, because it contain potentially hazardous bacteria. If you’d like to use the marinade as a dip or sauce, or to baste with, reserve a portion for that purpose before you add the meat, poultry, or fish. Use a new spoon or brush each time you baste to avoid recontaminating the marinade, or just cook for few more minutes after the last basting.
- Don’t eat raw or undercooked meats, poultry, fish, or shellfish while you’re expecting. Always cook meats and fish to medium (to 16o degree F) and poultry thoroughly (to 165 degree F). In general, place the thermometer in the thickest part of the food, away from bones, fat, or gristle.In poultry, place it in the dark meat.
- Don’t eat eggs that are runny (prefer well-scramble to sunny-side up), and if you’re mixing a batter that contains raw eggs, resist the urge to lick the spoon (or your fingers).The exception to this rule: eggs that are pasteurized, since this process effectively eliminates the risk of salmonella poisoning.
- Wash raw vegetables thoroughly (especially if they won’t be cooked before eating). Those fresh blueberries from the farmers’ market might have been grown organically-but that doesn’t mean they’re not spoting a layer of bacteria.
- Avoid alfalfa and other sprouts, which are often contaminated with bacteria.
- Stick to pasteurized dairy products, and make sure those that you use have been refrigerated continuously. Soft cheeses, such as important feta, brie, blue cheese, and soft Mexican style cheese made from unpasteurized milk, can be containated with listeria and should be avoided by pregnant women ,unless heated until bubbly. Domestic cheese is almost always pasteurized expect for those made for “raw milk”.
- Hot dogs, deli meats, and cold-smoked seafood can also be contaminated. As a precaution,even ready-cooked meats or smoked fish should be heated to steaming before eating (use in casseroles).
- Juice should be fully pasteurized, too. Avoid unpasteurized or flash pasteurized juice or cider, whether it’s bought at a health food store or a roadside stand. If you’re not sure whether a juice is pasteurized, don’t drink it.
- When eating out, avoid establishments that seem to ignore basic sanitation rules. Some signs are pretty obvious: Perisable foods are kept at room temperature, the bathroom are unclean, it’s open season for flies, and so on.