Nutrition Spotlight

Food Safety

Welcome to the third Nutrition Spotlight. This week, I will cover the topic of food safety. I feel there is no nutrition-related subject which is more important than this.

The food we eat can provide us with so many good things (i.e. energy and nutrients). Unfortunately, it can also be very harmful, if not lethal. Microbes in food can multiply and cause a food-borne illness, often as a result of improper food handling. Preventing a food-borne illness is well worth the few simple steps it takes to keep foods free of these dangerous bugs. I sure hope that you find the following information helpful.


I came home late on Saturday night,
sat down at the table to have a bite.
Fried chicken on the counter left over from lunch,
I jumped right in and started to munch.

A little voice in the back of my brain,
showed fear and concern, and began to exclaim,
"Don't eat that--it's been out all day!
If you don't listen, you're gonna pay."

That's silly, I thought, it's cooked clear through.
Well tell me, reader, what would you do?
It's been out all day and the weather's quite warm,
but it tastes so good--no cause for alarm.

Next, a dish of potato salad caught my eye.
And there's a piece of banana creme pie!
Sure, they've been out on the counter too,
still I ate them all ... wouldn't you?

They looked alright, but if only I knew,
those little microbes thought so too.
The taste and smell of the food was OK,
but on the next day, I surely did pay!

I don't know which food did the trick,
but I was down for the count--I was sick!, sick!, sick!
My stomach cramped up; it was tight as a drum.
All day long to the potty I did run.

I didn't die, but I felt like I might.
Were I starting over, I'd not touch a bite.
I'd toss every bit of that food in the trash,
skip the snack, head to bed, and crash.

And I'd sleep a lot sounder if I did know
that you had learned from my episode.
If food has been out of the frig all day,
don't take chances--throw it away!!!

Susan Copeland,
Uniontown Hospital SchooI of Nursing
Uniontown, PA

Some articles on food safety:

Refrigerator Freezer
Product (Days at 40 F) (Months at 0 F)
Roasts (beef) 3 to 5 6 to 12
Roasts (lamb) 3 to 5 6 to 9
Roasts (pork, veal) 3 to 5 4 to 8
Steaks (beef) 3 to 5 6 to 12
Chops (lamb) 3 to 5 6 to 9
Chops (pork) 3 to 5 3 to 4
Hamburger, ground and stew meats 1 to 2 3 to 4
Variety meats (tongue, brain, kidneys, liver, and heart) 1 to 2 3 to 4
Sausage (pork) 1 to 2 1 to 2
Cooked meat and meat dishes 3 to 4 2 to 3
Gravy and meat broth 1 to 2 2 to 3
PROCESSED MEATS (Frozen, cured meat loses quality rapidly and should be used as soon as possible.)
Bacon 7 1
Frankfurters 7* 1 to 2
Ham (whole) 7 1 to 2
Ham (half) 3 to 5 1 to 2
Ham (slices) 3 to 4 1 to 2
Luncheon meats 3 to 5 1 to 2
Sausage (smoked) 7 1 to 2
Sausage (dry, semi-dry) 14 to 21 1 to 2
Chicken and turkey (whole) 1 to 2 12
Chicken pieces 1 to 2 9
Turkey pieces 1 to 2 6
Duck and goose (whole) 1 to 2 6
Giblets 1 to 2 3 to 4
Covered with broth, gravy 1 to 2 6
Pieces not in broth or gravy 3 to 4 1
Cooked poultry dishes 3 to 4 4 to 6
Fried chicken 3 to 4 4
Deer 3 to 5 6 to 12
Rabbit 1 to 2 12
Duck and goose (whole, wild) 1 to 2 6
*Once a vacuum-sealed package is opened. Unopened vacuum-sealed packages can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

I hope that you found this week's Nutrition Spotlight to be of interest. I fully expect this page to grow exponentially in content as the weeks go by and as I receive e-mail from users like yourself. I encourage any questions or comments related to nutrition. My e-mail address is

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