1. All terrific tips, Brooke – thanks! I went through a big overhaul of kitchen cleanliness habits a few years ago – like they say, when you know better you do better. Glad to know the 4 hour rule, I was just wondering about that earlier this week after I realized some meat had been sitting out a while (I tossed it to be safe).

    • 1/19/2013

      Kathy, thank you for your kind words. I totally agree with what you say: “when you know better, you do better”! Absolutely. I shudder to think about how little I knew (and how unsafe I was) about food safety. Thank goodness for the internet and online food safety classes. We have access to much better tools now!

  2. Dana @ FoodieGoesHealthy

    I love this article. Thank you for all the helpful reminders. You mentioned proper cooling techniques. If I make a brisket or chili and want to refrigerate it over night and re-heat it and serve it the next day, then what is the proper way to cool it before putting it in the refrigerator? Also, re: the 4 hour rule, what if I make hot food, and it sits out for 1 to 2 hours on the dinner table, is it then OK to refrigerate the leftovers for another day? Thanks again for a great post, Dana

    • 1/22/2013

      thanks for coming by! Proper cooling pretty much requires mindfulness. If you make brisket or chili you should let the food cool to room temperature before putting it in the refrigerator (putting it in hot will raise the temp inside your refrigerator and may compromise other foods). Health department requires you cool the food from 135 F to 70F within 2 hours and then from 70F to 41F within 4 hours–with a total cooling time of 6 hours. Frozen foods should be thawed under cool running water, in a microwave oven or as part of the cooking process. Never thaw food at room temperature. When reheating food always bring the temperature to at least 165F. Food can only be reheated once to 165F and old and new food should not be mixed.

      Hope this helps!

      • Dana @ FoodieGoesHealthy

        Thanks for the reply. I am already implementing your tips. Best, Dana

  3. 1/22/2013

    Brooke, thank you so much for this! I’m sending this to my roommates who, delightful people though they may be, have long scoffed at my side of the fridge, with it’s labels and temperature zones and unspoiled milk. They say I’m being fussy, I say I’m avoiding the plague. It’s hard to laugh when you’re fighting a fresh case of botulism. :)

    It’s also good to have the basics of food safety presented in an accessible way. All of the steps you laid out could be done in a tiny dorm room or a cavernous mansion, which is wonderful, as we all know that these things are seldom learned in youth. It’s silly when you think about it, because what kid wouldn’t have fun putting stickers in the cupboard and poking food with a thermometer?

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