Tip of the Day
Tips for Safe Mealtime Multitasking
Sitting down to eat a meal is ideal, but in our fast-paced world it's not always a reality. If you find yourself eating at your desk, on the run, in your car or while doing anything else, keep these food safety tips in mind:
- Always Be Prepared. If you are a mealtime multitasker who dines while driving, handheld foods are usually the way to go. If you're a frequent in-car diner, be sure to keep a supply of moist towelettes or bottles of hand sanitizer close by so you can clean your hands before digging in.
- Make a Clean Break Between Tasks. The amount of tasks that people do while cooking is limitless, from watching TV, working on the computer or reading the newspaper to washing dishes, talking on the phone and cleaning the refrigerator. Since hand washing is the easiest way to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria, take time to lather up between household tasks while preparing food.
- Follow the Rules. If watching TV is your preferred activity while eating meals at home, remember to make sure leftover food doesn't sit out of refrigeration for longer than two hours (in hot weather of 90°F or above, this time is reduced to one hour). For an easy reminder, set a kitchen timer before you sit down to eat.
- Never Go in "Cold." If most Americans can't find time to actually sit down and eat a meal, odds are they have trouble making time to reheat meals, too! Make sure you reheat leftovers to an internal temperature of 165°F to ensure their safety the second time around - whether you're heating them up in a microwave or in a conventional oven.
For more information on reducing your risk of food poisoning, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist in your area and visit www.HomeFoodSafety.org.
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Reviewed July 2013