Food Temperatures are Critical to Healthy Eating

Food Temperatures are Critical to Healthy Eating

Food Temperatures are critical to your healthy eating. Especially for meats and those things that should be refrigerated. Here is a little review and tips to keep in mind to stay safe and healthy.

Regulating the temperature of your refrigerator

Milk should be kept at 38°F, and fish at 32°F. The drawers in our refrigerators called the “Meat Drawer” should be at a lower temperature than the rest of the refrigerator, for example, at less than 30°F. Experts recommend that you use a marker to write on the packaging the temperature you want and the date when you want to use the food. You can do this even on canned goods just to keep track of how long you have had them.

Don’t knock the “sniff and look” test

You don’t have to be so cautious to the point that you’re wasting food. Just be mindful. For example, if you have had apples for five days or beyond, it may not be a reason to throw them out! They may start to get a little softer. You can also be your own “sniffer” just to see if an item is fresh. Not very scientific, but most of us get used to seeing the foods we normally buy and how they should look and smell.

General food safety

Food safety in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential in preventing foodborne illnesses. Harmful bacteria cannot be tasted, but can be the cause for much of the kitchen-based illnesses that occur.

Here’s a quick overview of the principles for a safe & clean kitchen:

  • wash hands and surfaces with soap often.
  • separate raw meats from other foods.
  • cook to the right temperatures.
  • refrigerate food promptly.

Minimum food temperatures

Cook all meats to the minimum temperatures as measured with a food thermometer before removing food from the heat source. For reasons of personal choice, consumers may choose to cook food to a higher temperature.

Minimum Food Temperatures for Cooking

What about the safety of foods like Sushi?

As you may know, Sushi is the Japanese preparation and serving of cooked vinegared rice combined with varied raw ingredients mainly seafood, vegetables and tropical fruits. There are many varieties but the common ingredient is the specialty rice prepared with vinegar, Shari. Sushi is also served with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce.

Sushi is safe to eat as long as it has been prepared properly. This comment is made by the Food and Drug Administration in regards to the raw fish ingredient, and the rice.

Most sushi restaurants take extra steps in handling and preparing their fish. A required step involves freezing fish to temperatures of -4°F for seven days prior to using, or frozen at -31°F for 15 hours, which kills all parasites.

In addition, the vinegared rice prepared to be used with the raw fish products is very safe if it is prepared and then cooled in a refrigerator and not at room temperatures. The best fish for sushi are albacore or eel.

Take the extra time to be safe

Just paying attention to the meat we are preparing on a daily basis is very important. Many times consumers are in a hurry and just do not take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their families.


Rita Larsen Registered Dietitian at Elite Sports Clubs

Written by Rita Larsen, RDN, CD; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor

Rita is certified in Positive Psychology, University of Penn; has a BS in Dietetics from Kansas State University; and an Internship and Masters at the Indiana University Medical Center.

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This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.

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