Prepare Flavorful Foods With Food Safety In Mind: Home Food Safety Tips For National Nutrition Month

 Prepare Flavorful Foods With Food Safety In Mind: Home Food Safety Tips For
                           National Nutrition Month

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Feb. 28, 2014

CHICAGO, Feb. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Proper preparation, cooking
and storage can keep foods safe while maintaining their flavor and nutrients.
For National Nutrition Month^® and its 2014 theme "Enjoy the Taste of Eating
Right," the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' and ConAgra Foods' Home Food
Safety program offers ways to get the most flavor out of foods while reducing
the risk of food poisoning.

"Taste is typically what we have in mind when we prepare food, but it's also
important to consider how we're preparing foods and how this could affect food
safety," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson
Bethany Thayer. "Each year, 48 million Americans are sickened by food
poisoning. By following a few simple steps, you can reduce your risk while
enjoying the flavorful, nutritious foods you love."

The Home Food Safety program is dedicated to raising awareness about food
poisoning and helping Americans easily and safely handle food at home.
Thayer's tips include:

Preparing Foods with Nutrition, Flavor and Safety in Mind

"Properly handling and preparing food is key to food safety, and can also
affect the quality of foods," Thayer said.

  oWhether they are organic or conventionally grown, wash all fresh fruits
    and vegetables with cool tap water. Avoid soaking fruits and vegetables as
    you wash because some nutrients dissolve in water.
  oLeave edible skins on vegetables and fruits such as carrots, potatoes or
    pears, and trim away as little skin as possible. Most vitamins and
    minerals are found in the outer leaves, skin and areas just below the
    skin, not in the center. Peels also are natural barriers that help protect
    against nutrient loss.
  oCut vegetables that need to be cooked longer into larger pieces. With
    fewer surfaces exposed, fewer vitamins are lost.

Cooking for Nutrition, Flavor and Safety

"How food is cooked can enhance or destroy flavor. Get the most flavor and
nutrition out of your food, while also reducing the risk of food poisoning,"
Thayer said.

  oOvercooking meat can detract from its flavor. Use a food thermometer to
    determine when meat has reached a safe minimum internal temperature and to
    prevent overcooking. Cooking foods to a safe temperature is the only
    reliable way to determine the doneness of cooked meats, poultry, egg
    dishes and leftovers.
  oCook vegetables or fruits in a small amount of water, or steam them in a
    vegetable steamer, covered pot or a microwave oven. Steaming retains
    nutrients and there's a flavor advantage, too: Unless they are overcooked,
    vegetables retain the color and tender-crisp qualities that make them
    appealing.

Storing Foods for Safety and Flavor

"Poor storage destroys flavor and quality, while storing food correctly helps
keep nutrient loss to a minimum and flavor and food quality at their peak,"
Thayer said.

  oKeep your refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below to slow bacteria
    growth that spoils food and ruins flavor.
  oStore opened packages of dry foods, such as rice and pasta, in dry,
    airtight containers. This will keep out insects and rodents and keep food
    from obtaining odors.
  oLeave food in its original wrapping unless the package is torn. If you
    have to rewrap, seal storage containers well to prevent moisture loss and
    absorption of other odors. Wrapping raw meat, poultry and fish in separate
    plastic bags also keeps raw meat juices from contaminating other foods.
  oWhen freezing, pack food items in freezer bags or airtight containers.
    Squeeze air from bags before sealing and leave some space in containers in
    case foods expand. If moisture escapes, frozen food can become dry, tough
    and tasteless and may develop freezer burn.

For more food safety tips, visit the award-winning www.HomeFoodSafety.org and
download the free Is My Food Safe? app for Apple and Android devices.

Learn more about National Nutrition Month and how you can "Enjoy the Taste of
Eating Right" at www.EatRight.org/NNM.

All registered dietitians are nutritionists – but not all nutritionists are
registered dietitians. The Academy's Board of Directors and Commission on
Dietetic Registration have determined that those who hold the credential
registered dietitian (RD) may optionally use "registered dietitian
nutritionist" (RDN) instead. The two credentials have identical meanings.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods' Home Food Safety
program is dedicated to raising consumer awareness about the seriousness of
food poisoning and providing solutions for easily and safely handling food in
their own kitchens. More information can be found at www.HomeFoodSafety.org.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of
food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the
nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research,
education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.

ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) is one of North America's largest packaged
food companies with branded and private branded foods found 99 percent of
America's households, as well as a strong commercial foods business serving
restaurants and foodservice operations globally. Consumers can find recognized
brands such as Egg Beaters^®, Healthy Choice^®, Hunt's^®, Marie Callender's^®,
Orville Redenbacher's^®, and many other ConAgra Foods brands, along with food
sold by ConAgra Foods under private brand labels, in grocery, convenience,
mass merchandise, club stores and drugstores. ConAgra Foods also has a strong
commercial foods presence, supplying frozen potato and sweet potato products
as well as other vegetable, spice, bakery and grain products to a variety of
well-known restaurants, foodservice operators and commercial customers. For
more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.

SOURCE Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Website: http://www.HomeFoodSafety.org
Contact: Ryan O'Malley, Allison MacMunn, 800/877-1600, ext. 4769, 4802,
media@eatright.org
 
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