Keeping Food Safe to

In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that spoiled or contaminated food causes about 76 million illnesses — 325,000 of them serious enough to require hospitalization — and 5,000 deaths every year in the United States. Three years later, the USDA blamed Salmonella organisms alone for more than 3.5 million American stomachaches — or worse.

Clearly, keeping food safe to eat is an important goal. To do that, here's an equation any careful cook can rely on:

Clean stores + clean hands + clean kitchen + proper storage + proper temperature = safe food

That's the short version of the Guidelines' guidelines. For more details about exactly how to keep food safe from store to dinner plate, stick a bookmark in this page and flip forward to Chapters 19, 20, and 21. Imagine! Four chapters with info about one subject. Sort of tells you how important it is, doesn't it?

Right now, raw is in but not — as the Guidelines explain — necessarily healthful. To reduce your risk of picking up an icky bacterial disease along with dinner, the Guidelines advise avoiding raw (unpasteurized) milk or any products made from unpasteurized milk; raw or partially cooked eggs or any dish containing raw eggs; raw or undercooked meat and poultry; unpasteurized juices; and raw sprouts.

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