Frequently Asked Questions
what temperature should I set my refrigerator and freezer?
Your refrigerator should be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and your freezer
should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
can I find updated information on canning and freezing fruits and vegetables?
The National Center
for Home Food Preservation provides guides for canning and other methods
of food preservation, such as freezing, curing or smoking, and pickling.
temperature should different types of meats and poultry be cooked to?
Poultry (whole, pieces, or ground) should be cooked to a minimum internal
temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Eggs and egg dishes should be cooked
to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Ground meats
such as ground beef, pork, and lamb should be cooked to a minimum internal
temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Pieces of meat such as steaks and
roasts as well as fish fillets should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature
of a 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
can I avoid foodborne illness and food poisoning?
You can reduce your risk of getting foodborne illness by practicing safe
food handling. Some websites that contain information on the proper preparation
and storage of specific foods are FightBac.org, FoodSafety.gov,
It is particularly important to store perishable foods such as meats, poultry,
fish, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables properly. Your refrigerator
should be set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Wash all fruits and vegetables
with potable (safe) water before eating or using in a recipe. Cook meats
to their proper minimum internal cooking temperature (see answer above for
specific temperatures). When reheating leftovers make sure the food reaches
a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
To prevent cross-contamination avoid placing raw meat, poultry, or fish
near fruits, vegetables and other ready-to-eat-foods.
Do not leave perishable in the temperature danger zone for more than two
hours. The temperature danger zone is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Gateway to Government
Food Safety website is an excellent consumer site providing information
on the importance of a safe food supply and how to reduce risk of foodborne
long can I keep leftover food?
Leftover food can be a source of foodborne contamination if not handled
and stored properly. A list of how long various foods can be kept is available
long will food last in a power outage?
Typically, food in a full freezer should stay cold (40 degrees Fahrenheit
or less) for two days. A half-full freezer should stay cold (40 degrees Fahrenheit
or less) for one day. If the refrigerator temperature goes above 40 degrees
Fahrenheit for four hours or more, most foods will need to be thrown out
with the exception of certain items like hard cheeses, oil-based dressings,
bread, mustard, and butter. To keep foods as cold as long as possible, avoid
opening the refrigerator and freezer doors. For more information on food
and water safety during an extended power outage visit EDIS.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_disaster_food_safety.
there any special food safety concerns during pregnancy?
You should not eat raw meat, poultry, or seafood (especially raw oysters
and clams). Make sure all the meat, poultry, and seafood you eat is cooked
thoroughly. Do not eat deli meats or hot dogs unless they are thoroughly
heated. You should also avoid raw or undercooked eggs and any foods that
contain them, such as Caesar salads, mousse, custards, homemade ice cream,
homemade mayonnaise, and key lime pie. You can buy pasteurized eggs for these
recipes. Donï¿½t drink raw or unpasteurized milk, and do not eat foods made
from raw or unpasteurized milk. Avoid soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert,
and Queso Blanco or Queso Fresco. For more information on pregnancy and food
safety visit the Food
and Drug Administrationï¿½s Safe Food for Moms-To-Be.
I send perishable items in the mail?
You can send perishable items in the mail as long as you package them properly. Ensure that the package is labeled ï¿½KEEP REFRIGERATEDï¿½ so that the recipient and shipper are aware that it is perishable. Pack with sufficient cold packs and if appropriate freeze items before shipping so they will remain cold as long as possible. Be sure the food is sealed in a plastic bag or airtight container. For more information on mail order safety visit the United
States Department of Agricultureï¿½s Food Safety and Inspection website.
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