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Food Safety Tips for Diabetes

Food safety is just as important as eating healthy when it comes to diabetes—whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

To avoid cross-contamination or eating spoiled food, you need to be prepared in the kitchen. For example, leaving a carton of milk or bottle of ketchup on the counter for a long time can cause harmful bacteria to develop.

This article will walk you through food safety tips, including how to safely store food and how to cook safely. These tips are important for everyone, especially for people with diabetes.

Kitchen Safety Tips

  • Check the temperature on your refrigerator and freezer. Refrigerators should stay below 41°F (5°C) and the freezer should be about 0°F (-l8°C). This won't kill any bacteria that are already present, but it will keep them from multiplying. If your refrigerator doesn't already have one built in, you can buy a thermometer for it.
  • Handle leftovers safely. Refrigerate leftovers immediately after a meal.
  • Check the sell-by date. When shopping for food, opt for the package or carton with the latest sell-by date.
  • Wash your hands with hot, soapy water. Washing your hands before and after handling raw foods is crucial.
  • Thoroughly wash and dry knives and utensils. After working with raw foods, such as poultry, give your knives, utensils, and cutting boards a good scrub. Avoid cross-contamination by using clean, smooth cutting boards made of glass or hard plastic that are free of cracks and crevices. Also, when preparing a meal, use different knives, utensils, and cutting boards for each part of the meal (eg, use one cutting board for raw foods and use a different cutting board to chop vegetables).

Storing Leftovers
How long should you store leftovers in the fridge? Below we show you some general guidelines for common foods. But of course, use the old rule: When in doubt, throw it out.

  • Cooked fresh vegetables: 3 to 4 days
  • Cooked pasta: 3 to 5 days
  • Cooked rice: 1 week
  • Deli counter meats: 5 days
  • Salad greens: 1 to 2 days
  • Cooked and sliced ham: 3 to 4 days
  • Cooked beef, pork, poultry, fish, and meat casseroles: 3 to 4 days
  • Cooked patties and nuggets, gravy, and broth: 1 to 2 days
  • cooked seafood: 2 days
  • Soups and stews: 3 to 4 days
  • Stuffing: 1 to 2 days

Cooking Safety
Cooking meat thoroughly is essential when preparing meals. Below are the recommended internal temperatures for meat, poultry, and fish.

  • Pork:160°F (71°C)
  • Lamb:160°F (71°C)
  • Veal: 160°F (71°C)
  • Whole poultry and thighs: 180°F (82°C)
  • Poultry breasts: 170°F (77°C)
  • Ground chicken or ground turkey: 165°F (74°C)
  • Fish and seafood: Cook at a high temperature, making sure the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C) for at least 15 seconds.

A note about storing and cooking eggs: Buy only refrigerated eggs and refrigerate them promptly when you get home. Cook fresh eggs until both the yolk and white are firm—not runny—and scramble eggs until there is no visible liquid egg. Don't eat anything that contains raw eggs, including cookie dough and cake batter.

Following these food safety guidelines can help keep your kitchen safe when you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

Updated on: November 5, 2012
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