Coming into the new year, some people make a resolution to eat healthier. Picking the right foods to eat is only part of the process. Knowing how to prepare and store foods correctly can mean the difference between a healthier lifestyle and getting sick from under-prepared food.
The 86th Medical Group Public Health Food Safety and Sanitation Department is here to make sure on-base food facilities are compliant with all necessary food standards.
“All on-base food facilities are inspected monthly to verify its food storage and preparation is up to standards and the personal cleanliness of its workers is accurate,” said Staff Sgt. Heather Miller, 86th Aerospace Medicine Squadron NCOIC of Food Safety and Sanitation.
Learning how to practice the same food storage habits as the on-base facilities can be as easy as knowing where to place raw meats in the refrigerator. Placing different products in the proper places in the refrigerator can keep foods lasting longer. Using different techniques like placing raw meets at the bottom shelf can help stop germs from getting on other foods.
“Food separation is a good practice to learn,” Miller said. “Keep meat products away from fruits and vegetables, and have your refrigerator and freezer at the proper temperatures.”
Having the refrigerator at 41 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer at zero will keep foods fresh. Once the foods are properly stored, they can be cooked. Before cooking, there is one important thing to do.
“Before you start handling your food you should wash your hands,” said Senior Airman Danielle Marsh, 86th AMDS public health technician. “You should also wash your hands before you handle a different type of food to prevent cross contamination.”
Cross contamination can be caused by not washing your hands before cooking and prior to the handling of a different food product. Though it’s time consuming, this process can keep one food’s germs from getting on another. Keeping these germs out of the human body can be as simple as ensuring the food is cooked properly. Checking the temperature of the food before they are eaten can stop the consumer from getting sick. The Food Safety and Sanitation Department recommends food should be cooked at the following temperature at a minimum:
• Eggs (made to order) 145 F/batched cooked 155 F
• Fish, beef 145 F
• Ground beef, pork 155 F
• Poultry, stuffed meats, leftovers 165 F
“It’s important to keep your food at a good temperature,” Miller said. “You shouldn’t keep food out for more than four hours, because it increases the bacterial growth in the food.”
Keeping the amount of bacterial growth low in your food can decrease the amount of germs consumed when eating. To get more tips on how to keep your food safe to eat, visit:
• Or call Public Health at 479-2242/2234 or 06371-46-2242/2234