See the following list of tips from the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
- Defrost carefully. Never allow foods to defrost at room temperature, on the counter or in warm water. Defrost food only in the refrigerator, in the microwave or in a cool water bath with water that is changed every 30 minutes. When defrosting food in the refrigerator, remember to cover raw meat and place it on the bottom shelf so juices won’t drip onto other foods. When defrosting food in the microwave, cook it immediately afterward.
- Wash hands before, during and after food preparation. Proper hand-washing may eliminate a large percentage of food poisoning cases. Remember to wash hands when switching tasks, such as handling raw meat and then cutting vegetables. Wash hands thoroughly in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
- Keep kitchen surfaces clean.Use hot, soapy water to wash countertops and surfaces, cutting boards, refrigerator door handles and utensils. After cleaning, keep it clean by avoiding cross-contamination.
- Use two cutting boards.Dedicate one for raw meat, poultry and fish and the other for ready-to-eat foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Make it easy to remember by using color-coded cutting boards, one for raw meats and one for ready-to-eat foods.
- Employ different utensils for different tasks. Use separate spoons and forks to taste, stir and serve food.
- Resist temptation.When baking, avoid eating foods containing raw eggs such as cookie dough or cake batter. Raw eggs may contain harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning.
- Buy and use a food thermometer.It is the only reliable way to determine the doneness of your food and ensure that food is cooked to proper temperatures. (Do not rely on “clear juices” to tell that the turkey is done.)
- Refrigerate food within two hours of serving.This helps to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning. This is especially important when serving buffets. Use a refrigerator thermometer and make sure it’s set at below 40°F.