Many of us grew up thawing frozen meat on the counter and keeping leftovers far too long. Times have changed. Now that I’m a mom, I make an effort to serve my family only food that I’m sure is safe. The USDA has food safety recommendations to help us keep our families safe from the unfortunate side affects of unsafe food preparation (such as food poisoning).
But it isn’t always easy to know what is safe? For example, I’ve always thought that you couldn’t refreeze meat once it has been thawed, assumed that microwaving kills all bacteria, and worried that pre-washed produce isn’t really safe. And I’m never sure if I have to use a food thermometer.
To help consumers protect themselves and their families from food poisoning, the Ad Council, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, FDA and CDC and their Food Safe Families campaign as well as the Partnership for Food Safety Education are setting the record straight on food safety to save you time, money and most importantly, peace of mind, that your food is safe for your family’s consumption.
On the FightBac.org and FoodSafety.gov websites, four of the biggest food safety myths are highlighted.
- MYTH #1: “If I microwave food, the microwaves kill the bacteria, so the food is safe.”
- MYTH #2: “Of course I wash all bagged lettuce and greens because it might make me sick if I don’t.”
- MYTH #3: “I don’t need to use a food thermometer. I can tell when my food is cooked by looking at it or checking the temperature with my finger.”
- MYTH #4: “I can’t re-freeze foods after I have thawed them – I have to cook them or throw them away.”
I’ve posted a helpful infographic that summarizes all of the Food Safety Myths.
Myth #4 is the one that I found the most interesting. I like to purchase food– especially meat– in bulk to save money, but I always thought I couldn’t refreeze meat once it had been thawed. Over the past few years, I’ve trashed a lot of meat that I thawed for dinner but didn’t have time to cook. It turns out that you can safely refreeze meat as long as it has been thawed in the refrigerator. The USDA advises us that meat thawed on our counter, in our microwave or in cool water must be cooked immediately, but meat thawed in the refrigerator is safe to refreeze.
Why myth was the most surprising to you? Tweet @USDAFoodSafety with hashtag #fightbac to join the conversation.