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Food Safety

QA wood cutting board is sufficient but should be replaced when worn or develops grooves in the surface.. Should I use a wooden cutting board or a plastic one?
A. You can choose either wood or a nonporous surface cutting board. Research shows that nonporous surfaces, such as plastic, marble, tempered glass, and pyroceramic are easier to clean than wood. Wood surfaces are considered porous. Once cutting boards become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves, you should replace them. Even plastic boards wear out over time. (Source: Cutting Boards and Food Safety)

Q. What types of kitchen thermometers are available, and how should each be used?
A. Lots of information on food thermometer use is available on the Thermy™ Web site: www.fsis.usda.gov/thermy. For information (including illustrations) on various types of thermometers and their use, see Thermy's™ Kitchen Thermometers page.

Q. Is it safe to cook in a slow cooker, since it cooks at such a low temperature?
A. Yes, the slow cooker, a countertop appliance, cooks foods slowly at a low temperature—generally between 170° and 280 °F. The low heat helps less expensive, leaner cuts of meat become tender and shrinks less. The direct heat from the pot, lengthy cooking and steam created within the tightly-covered container combine to destroy bacteria and make the slow cooker a safe process for cooking foods. (Source: Slow Cookers and Food Safety)

Q. What is the difference between expiration, use by, sell by, and best by date?
A. Expiration-the last day the store can sell the food as fresh, if food has expired and is no longer safe to consume, it should be discarded.

Use by-is the last date for use of any product at its peak quality

Sell by
-tells the store how long to display the product. There is still ample time to consume this product.

Best by-just means it is at peak quality and freshness by this time. it is usually still safe to consume after this date (Source: fsis.usda.gov/oa/pubs/dating.htm)