KATE GUSTMAN RDN, CD, Ridgewood Care Center Dietician
Everyone needs to practice food safety and sanitation. However, for the very young and old the consequences of not doing so are much more detrimental. It is best to follow these guidelines:
- Practice frequent hand-washing — Wash hands before, during and after cooking, as well as before you eat. Use warm water and soap for 20 seconds, then dry with a clean towel.
- Keep raw meat and eggs separate — Raw items should not touch anything that may introduce bacteria into your mouth. This includes cutting boards, knifes and countertops; sanitize before re-using.
- Practice keeping foods properly cooled — Set refrigerator temperature lower than 40 degrees. Put cold items in refrigerator right away after shopping. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours, putting large quantities into smaller, shallow containers to cool more quickly. Use leftovers within seven days. Use foods by expiration date.
- Cook foods to proper temperatures — This can be checked using a calibrated meat thermometer. Most food packages have the minimum temperature listed on them.
Also note these foods that are not safe for older adults: undercooked meat and fish (sushi), refrigerated smoked seafood, unpasteurized dairy, some fresh soft cheeses, raw/undercooked egg, raw sprouts, deli salads, unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices.