Listeria hysteria: What do I feed my family?

HERE are a few ideas on what people should do when dealing with their food, how to take the necessary precautions in avoiding any unwanted scares, and easy alternative lunches to prepare.

1. SEPARATE RAW AND COOKED FOOD

• Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods.

• Use separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cutting boards for handling raw foods.

• Store food in containers to avoid contact between raw and prepared foods.

2. COOK THOROUGHLY

• Cook food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, eggs and seafood.

• Bring foods like soups and stews to the boil. For meat and poultry, make sure that the juices are clear.

3. KEEP FOOD AT SAFE TEMPERATURES

• Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than two hours.

• Refrigerate promptly all cooked and perishable food.

• Keep cooked food hot prior to serving.

• Do not store food too long, even in the refrigerator.

• Do not thaw frozen food at room temperature.

LUNCH OPTIONS:

• peanut butter and jam sandwiches;

• Greek salads;

• avocado on healthy bread;

• fruit, cheese and cracker-filled lunch boxes;

• grilled mushrooms with asparagus, avocado and green beans;

• egg-salad sandwiches; and

• leftover supper (something like stir-fry or grilled chops).

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