AUSTIN (KXAN) — As Easter weekend is upon us and families gather for decadent spring feasts, the USDA has released some guidelines everyone should follow to prevent foodborne illnesses.
According to the Center for Disease Control, foodborne illnesses cause approximately 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths a year.
The USDA laid out four basic and easy steps to protect yourself from foodborne illness.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling raw food. It is always important to remember to wash cutting boards, countertops and utensils as well.
- Use a separate cutting board for raw meat and ready to eat food.
- Don’t forget your food thermometer! The USDA has determined the best temperatures your food needs to be for it to be safe to eat.
- Beef, pork, veal and lamb — 145°F
- Ground meats — 160°F
- Fully cooked ham (to reheat) — Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140°F and all others to 165°F
- All poultry — 165°F
- Egg dishes — 160°F
- Fish — 145°F
- Leftovers and casserole — 165°F
- Perishable foods should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours.
More information about how to prevent foodborne illness can be found at the UDSA website.