Food safety gifts
Add food safety tools to your gift list to help keep food safe and your loved ones healthy. Put several tools together for one present, or use as stocking-stuffers.
Cooking food, especially perishable foods such as meat and poultry, to the proper temperature is the best way to make sure food is safe to eat. Food thermometers are the best tools to check temperatures.
- Instant-read thermometers, either dial or digital, quickly measure the temperature of food near the end of the cooking time and can be used in many thin foods.
- Oven-safe thermometers remain in the food during cooking. If the thermometer is not left in the food during cooking, it can take as long as one to two minutes to register the correct temperature.
- Oven-probe-with-cord thermometers include a digital probe that is inserted into the food and attached to a long wire that connects to a base unit outside the oven or grill. Set the desired temperature and the unit beeps when it reaches that temperature.
Prevent cross-contamination by using different colored cutting boards for different foods.
Buy one for both the refrigerator and freezer. Freezer temperatures should be zero degrees or lower. The recommended refrigerator temperature is between 32-38 degrees F to keep refrigerated food at 40 degrees F or colder.
Color-coded cutting boards:
Prevent cross-contamination by using different colored cutting boards for different foods. For example, cut raw meat, poultry and fish on a red board; prepare raw fruits and vegetables on a green board; and slice bread on a yellow board. Plastic, tempered glass or other non-porous boards are easier to clean and sanitize than wood because you can put them into the dishwasher for better cleaning and sanitizing.
A kitchen timer:
A timer is a reminder to check if something is done, but it can also be used to remind cooks to put food away. Many cooks leave food out to cool on the counter, only to discover it still sitting there the next morning. Perishable food is not safe if left out more than two hours; one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees F.
Washing and scrubbing fruits and vegetables under running water is important to keeping food safe. An extra colander or two may save time and help prevent cross-contamination. Consider buying them in a variety of sizes.
Revised 2011 by Carol Ann Burtness. Peer reviewed by Suzanne Driessen, Extension Educator, University of Minnesota, 2012.