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afe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential in preventing foodborne illness. You can??™t see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness. In every step of food preparation, follow the four Fight BAC!?® guidelines to keep food safe: ?¦ Clean??”Wash hands and surfaces often. ?¦ Separate??”Don??™t cross-contaminate. ?¦ Cook??”Cook to proper temperatures, checking with a food thermometer. ?¦ Chill??”Refrigerate promptly.
?¦ Purchase refrigerated or frozen items after selecting your nonperishables. ?¦ Never choose meat or poultry in packaging that is torn or leaking. ?¦ Do not buy food past ???Sell-By,??? ???Use-By,??? or other expiration dates.
?¦ Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 ?°F). ?¦ Check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer with an appliance thermometer. The refrigerator should be at 40 ?°F or below and the freezer at 0 ?°F or below. ?¦ Cook or freeze fresh poultry, fish, ground meats, and variety meats within 2 days; other beef, veal, lamb, or pork, within 3 to 5 days. ?¦ Perishable food such as meat and poultry should be wrapped securely to maintain quality and to prevent meat juices from getting onto other food. ?¦ To maintain quality when freezing meat and poultry in its original package, wrap the package again with foil or plastic wrap that is recommended for the freezer. ?¦ In general, high-acid canned food such as tomatoes, grapefruit, and pineapple can be stored unopened on the shelf for 12 to 18 months. Low-acid canned food such as meat, poultry, fish, and most vegetables will keep 2 to 5 years??”if the unopened can remains in good condition and has been stored in a cool, clean, and dry place. Discard cans that are dented, leaking, bulging, or rusted.
?¦ Refrigerator??”The refrigerator allows slow, safe thawing. Make sure thawing meat and poultry juices do not drip onto other food. ?¦ Cold Water??”For faster thawing, place food in a leak-proof plastic bag. Submerge in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook immediately after thawing. ?¦ Microwave??”Cook meat and poultry immediately after microwave thawing.
?¦ Always wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food. ?¦ Don??™t cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices away from other food. After cutting raw meats, wash ? utting board, c knife, and counter tops with hot, soapy water. ?¦ Marinate meat and poultry in a covered dish in the refrigerator. ?¦ Sanitize cutting boards by using a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water.
Cook foods to the recommended safe minimum internal temperatures listed below. Check temperatures with a food thermometer. Learn more about using food thermometers on the FSIS Web site or by calling the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline. (See back cover.) Internal Temperature (?°F) 160 160 145 165 165 165 160 145 160 160 145 165 160 140
Product Beef and Veal
Type Ground Steak and roasts medium Steak and roasts medium rare Breasts Ground, stuffing, and casseroles Whole bird, legs, thighs, and wings Any type Any type Ground Steak and roasts medium Steaks and roasts medium rare Any type Chops, fresh (raw) ham ground, ribs, and roasts Fully cooked ham (to reheat)
Chicken and Turkey Eggs Fish and Shellfish Lamb Leftovers Pork
?¦ Hot food should be held at 140 ?°F or warmer. ?¦ Cold food should be held at 40 ?°F or colder. ?¦ When serving food at a buffet, keep hot food hot with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays. Keep cold food cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice or use small serving trays and replace them often. ?¦ Use a food thermometer to check hot and cold holding temperatures. ?¦ Perishable food should not be left out more than 2 hours at room temperature (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 ?°F).
?¦ Discard any food left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature was above 90 ?°F). ?¦ Place food into shallow containers and immediately put in the refrigerator or freezer for rapid cooling. ?¦ Use most cooked leftovers within 3 to 4 days. (See chart on page 6.)
?¦ Meat and poultry defrosted in the refrigerator may be refrozen before or after cooking. If thawed by other methods, cook before refreezing.
Cold Storage Chart
These storage times will help keep refrigerated (40 ?°F) food from spoiling or becoming dangerous to eat. Because freezing at 0 ?°F or below (not 32 ?°F) keeps food safe indefinitely, recommended freezer storage times are for quality only. Use an appliance thermometer to monitor storage temperatures in the refrigerator and freezer. For more specific information or for foods not listed here, contact the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline or check the FSIS Web site. (See back cover.)
Preparation Type or Description Ground, hamburger,, stew meat, variety meat (tongue, liver, heart, kidney, chitterlings) Chops, roasts, steak Chops, pre-stuffed Leftovers Corned Beef Bacon Ham (Pre-Cooked) Fully Cooked Canned Labeled ???Keep Refrigerated??? Including casseroles In pouch, with pickling juices Bacon Slices Half Whole Opened Unopened Refrigerate (0 ?°F) Freeze (0 ?°F)*
Beef, Lamb, Pork, Veal 1??“2 days 3-5 days 1 day 3??“4 days 5??“7 days 7 days 3??“4 days 3??“5 days 7 days 3??“5 days 6??“9 months ???Use-by??? date 2 weeks 3??“4 months 4-12 months Does not freeze well 2??“3 months Drained, 1 month 1 month 1??“2 months 1??“2 months 1??“2 months 1??“2 months Do not freeze 1??“2 months 1??“2 months Does not freeze well 3??“4 months 9 months 1 year 4??“6 months 1??“3 months 4 months 6 months
continued on next page
Fresh beef, lamb, veal and pork
Unopened, fully cooked vacuum sealed, dated Vacuum sealed Unopened, fully cooked vacuum sealed, undated Chicken, Turkey, Other Poultry Chicken breasts, pre-stuffed Fresh Ground, patties, giblets Pieces Whole Casseroles Chicken nuggets, patties Pieces, plain or fried Pieces in broth or gravy
1 day 1??“2 days 1??“2 days 1??“2 days 3??“4 days 1??“2 days 3??“4 days 3??“4 days
Cold Storage Chart (continued)
Preparation Eggs Fresh Leftovers Opened In shell Yolk, whites Casserole, quiche, omelet Hard-cooked 3??“5 weeks 2??“4 days 3??“4 days 1 week 3 days 10 days 2??“3 weeks 1??“2 days 7 days 3??“5 days 1 week 3??“5 days 3 weeks 2 weeks 2 weeks 3 months 1??“2 days 1??“2 days 3??“4 days Unsafe to thaw 2 months 3??“4 days 3??“4 days 3??“4 days 3??“4 days 3??“5 days Do not freeze 1 year 2 months Does not freeze well Does not freeze well 1 year 1??“2 months 1??“2 months 1??“2 months 1??“2 months 1??“2 months 1??“2 months 1??“2 months 1??“2 months 1??“2 months 1??“2 months 3??“8 months 3??“12 months 3 months 3??“4 months Do not freeze 2??“3 months 1??“2 months 2??“3 months 1 month Does not freeze well Type or Description Refrigerate (0 ?°F) Freeze (0 ?°F)*
Liquid pasteurized eggs, egg substitutes Liquid pasteurized eggs, Unopened egg substitutes Sausages, Lunch Meats Hard Sausage Raw Sausage Smoked Sausage Lunch Meat Jerky sticks, pepperoni, Beef, chicken, pork, turkey Breakfast links, patties Deli-sliced or store-prepared Hot dogs Lunch meat??” vacuum-packed, sliced Summer sausage labeled ???keep refrigerated??? Hot dogs Lunch meat??” vacuum-packed, sliced Summer sausage labeled ???keep refrigerated??? Fish Shellfish Fish and shellfish ???Keep frozen??? Commercial, ???refrigerate after opening??? Gravy and meat broth Pizza Soups and stews Stuffing Egg, chicken, ham, macaroni, tuna (store-prepared, homemade)
Seafood Fresh Leftovers Miscellaneous Frozen Dinners and Entrees Mayonnaise
* Because freezing at 0 ?°F keeps food safe indefinitely, recommended storage times are for quality only.
For More Food Safety Information, Contact:
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) TTY: 1-800-256-7072 E-mail: [email protected] Visit the Web: www.fsis.usda.gov At the Web site, you can ???Ask Karen.??? FSIS automated response system can provide food safety information 24/7.
United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA??™s TARGET Center at (202) 720??“2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326??“W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250??“9410 or call (202) 720??“5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. April 2007