- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Always be mindful of the time when food is outside a refrigerator or freezer. Typically, it should be no longer than two hours, and just one hour in the summertime, according to UC Cooperative Extension UC CalFresh nutrition program coordinator Elizabeth Lopez in an appearance on the Valley Pubic Television program Valley's Gold. (The food safety segment begins at the 18:30 mark.)
Lopez recommends using an insulated grocery bag with a frozen ice pack for the trip home from the store, and refrigerating leftovers in sealed containers soon after finishing a meal to maintain food safety.
The UC Cooperative Extension nutrition educator also provided cooking tips with program host Ryan Jacobson, the director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. Lopez noted:
- Before beginning, wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds.
- Make sure the food preparation area is clean.
- Designate certain cutting boards for fruit and vegetables, and others for meat and poultry.
- Wash fruit and vegetables under cool running water. No detergent is needed. Read the labels on pre-bagged produce. Some are ready to use, some need to be washed.
- Use a meat thermometer. Cook beef, pork and lamb to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Ground meats should be cooked to 160 degrees F. Poultry, whole or ground, should be cooked to 165 degrees F.
For more information, Lopez suggested consumers consult the USDA's Food Safety.gov website or Food Keeper app, available free in the app store.