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NAN: Safe Food Preparation

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Many nannies are charged with preparing two to three meals per day and several snacks for the children in their care. Proper food preparation is essential to protecting the health of children. 

Thoroughly wash hands before and after the handling food. Nannies should teach and ensure children do the same.

Avoid thawing or marinating foods at room temperature. To reduce the growth of illness causing bacteria foods should be thawed in the refrigerator, submerged under cold water or in the microwave using the defrost setting. The refrigerator temperature should be set to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to slow the growth of bacteria. 

Nannies should use a thermometer to determine that meat, poultry, pork and beef are cooked to their recommended temperatures prior to serving. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ground beef, pork, veal and lamb should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Ground chicken, turkey and whole chicken and turkey and their parts should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Fresh ham should be cooked to 145 degrees Fahrenheit and pre-cooked ham to 140. 

Leftovers and casseroles should be thoroughly cooked and reheated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving. Leftovers should be refrigerated after serving to prevent the growth of Salmonella bacteria. Leftovers should be stored only for the recommended time based on food type.

Milk and milk products should be pasteurized when serving to children and foods should be eaten by their “Best if used by” date. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pregnant women, infants and children only eat pasteurized milk, cheese and other milk products.  

Designating a plastic cutting board to the preparation of raw meat can help to avoid cross contamination. Cutting boards and counters should be disinfected after use. Use a paper towel for disinfecting so it can be tossed away after use. 

Washing kitchen sponges in the dishwasher regularly, replacing them, or soaking them in a bleach solution can help to prevent the growth and spread of illness-causing bacteria.

Michelle LaRoweNAN: Safe Food Preparation