Thirty six million pounds of ground turkey were recalled last week because of a salmonella outbreak. But even when there's NOT an outbreak, food-borne illness is a threat. So the editors at "EatingWell Magazine" came up with a list of dangerous mistakes you might be making in the kitchen. Here are the top six.
Mistake #1. Not Checking Your Food When There's a Recall. According to a 2008 survey by Rutgers University, about 40%of Americans don't search their kitchens when food gets recalled. You can find an up-to-date list at Recalls.gov.
Mistake #2. Your Refrigerator Isn't Cold Enough. The temperature inside your fridge can creep up during the summer. So they suggest buying a thermometer to make sure it stays below 40 degrees. The food you keep on the door is the most vulnerable.
Mistake #3. Defrosting Food on the Counter. Two hours is the absolute max, because after the outer layer reaches 40 degrees, bacteria starts multiplying fast. So you should always thaw food in the refrigerator or the microwave.
Mistake #4. Using the Same Cutting Board for Everything. Washing it after you cut meat is usually good enough, but it can still leave bacteria behind. So ideally, you should use one cutting board for meat, and a second one for everything else.
Mistake #5. Not Using a Meat Thermometer. It's the only way to know your meat is DEFINITELY cooked enough. The recommended minimums are 160 degrees for ground beef, 165 degrees for poultry, and 145 degrees for ground beef.
Mistake #6. Eating Cold Leftovers. According to the USDA, all leftovers that used to be hot should be reheated to at least 165 degrees to kill any dangerous bacteria. So in other words . . . stop being lazy, and put your cold pizza in the microwave.