California Poultry Industry Offers Simple Food Safety Reminders
Modesto, CA -- The spring and summer seasons will be here soon and that means
more outdoor cooking and dining. The California Poultry Federation (CPF) wants
to remind consumers that food handling and preparation is of year round
importance, and, especially critical during warmer months.
California poultry producers take food safety very seriously. They not only
follow the strictest USDA guidelines through all stages of production and
distribution, but also go above and beyond regulations to ensure the product you
purchase is healthy, wholesome and safe. “The members of the California Poultry
Federation are vigilant when it comes to making sure their products are safe in
all stages of production, from the farm to the supermarket,” says Bill Mattos,
But, it’s not just up to the producer to make sure your food is safe.
Contamination can happen at any point between the store and your dinner table.
“Consumers can play a key role in food safety. That’s why it’s important to
follow food safety guidelines to prevent foodborne illness. Follow the four key
steps to food safety – Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill,” says Susan Conley,
Director of the USDA FSIS Food Safety Education.
Are you food safety savvy? Could you pass the food safety tests? When your
family asks what’s for dinner tonight, can you serve them a meal that was
prepared in the safest way possible to avoid foodborne illness? The CPF wants to
dispel myths, offer guidance and make certain what you cook is safe to eat for
you and your family.
Guidelines for Safe Food Preparation
Safely cooked food is easy to attain by following a few simple steps to prevent
bacteria growth on food cooked in the kitchen and outdoors. A little caution
goes a long way in keeping family and guests healthy.
Clean: One cook, two cooks, three cooks or more… all should wash their hands and
preparation surfaces often. Hands, counter tops, cutting boards, utensils and
dishes should be washed with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and
before going on to the next.
Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate. Separate all raw meat, poultry and seafood
from other foods in the grocery cart and in your refrigerator. Use different
cutting boards for raw meat products and fresh produce. Never place cooked food
on a plate or platter that previously held raw meat or poultry.
Cook: Get out the thermometer and use it! Never guess on the doneness of meat.
Cook meat and poultry to recommended temperatures. Did you marinate that chicken
in the refrigerator before putting it on the grill? Throw out any unused
marinade, or bring it to a boil to reuse it.
Chill: Don’t overpack the refrigerator or picnic cooler. Your refrigerator
should be at 40 degrees F or below for safe storage. Thaw food in the
refrigerator or in cold water, changing the water often. And, refrigerate that
leftover barbecued chicken within 2 hours of cooking.
A few of the common myths about meat preparation are:
Free-range chickens are safer than traditionally farm raised. There is no valid
scientific information that shows this is true.
Washing or soaking raw chicken or turkey removes naturally occurring bacteria
from the meat making it safer. This is not recommended as a way to reduce
foodborne illness; cooking to the recommended temperatures destroys any bacteria
Color is a good indication of thorough cooking. Using a food thermometer to
measure the internal temperature is the best gauge of doneness. (The internal
temperature of chicken and turkey, for example, should reach 180 degrees F.)
The bathroom is the most unsanitary spot in the house. Research has shown that
kitchen sponges and dishcloths can contain alarming amounts of bacteria – so
it’s critical to use clean materials when wiping down kitchen surfaces and
before preparing meals.
The California Poultry Federation represents the state’s chicken and turkey
producers and marketers. A trade association formed in 1990, the CPF represents
all segments of the industry including growers, hatchers, breeders and
processors. The CPF is also the representative for the California Squab
Producers, the largest squab processing facility in the world, and represents
ducks, game birds and other meat poultry as well. The California poultry
industry is one of the state’s largest agricultural leaders and provides jobs to
over 25,000 people, including thousands more in affiliated industries.