March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.
Before you blame a flu bug for an upset stomach, consider the fact that food poisoning often starts at home.
How can you avoid it? For starters, frequent hand-washing, proper cooking temperatures and prompt refrigeration can help reduce the risk of food poisoning. Just as important is keeping food safe from cross contamination. Always separate raw meat, poultry and seafood — which may harbor "unfriendly" bacteria — from food that's ready to eat.
How well do you prevent cross contamination? Make sure to integrate these tips into your daily routine.
- Use one utensil to taste, another to prepare food.
- Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood on the bottom refrigerator shelf to make sure their juices don't drip onto other foods.
- Always use separate plates: one for raw meat, poultry or seafood, another for cooked foods.
- Use two cutting boards: one for raw meat, poultry and seafood; the other for bread, fruit, vegetables and other foods that are ready to eat.
- Before using them again, wash knives and mixing spoons.
- Keep clean — this includes hands, dishcloths, counters and other surfaces.