National Taco Day Food Safety and Deals

National Taco Day is October 4th and it’s a fiesta for taco lovers with many national taco chains marking the day with free tacos and specials.

According to National Taco Day’s official website, Americans ate more than 4.5 billion tacos last year. That’s a lot of tacos.

For National Taco Day, consider the countless variations you can create using traditional meats or with seafood, chicken, beans, cheese, and/or eggs. Accent your taco with an array of garnishes – salsa, cilantro, avocado, tomatoes, onions and lettuce – and you will have a tasty meal!

Use the hashtag #NationalTacoDay on social media to find the best National Taco Day deals or check here.

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The Four Food Safety Steps: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill

If you plan on having your own fiesta and making your world famous tacos – it’s a good time to brush up on food safety and the proper procedures of preparing and serving.

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Image Source: Shutterstock

Clean

Wash hands and surfaces often

  • Clean hands and surfaces. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling pets. Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item.
  • Wash produce. Rinse fresh vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Scrub firm produce with a clean produce brush.
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Separate

Separate raw meats from other foods

  • Avoid cross contamination. Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs unless the plate has been washed in hot, soapy water. Don’t reuse marinades used on raw foods unless you bring them to a boil first.

Cook

Cook to the right temperature

  • Use a food thermometer. Color and texture are unreliable indicators of safety. Using a food thermometer is the only way to ensure the safety of meat, poultry, seafood, and egg products for all cooking methods. These foods must be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria.
  • Microwave cooking. When cooking in a microwave oven, cover food, stir, and rotate for even cooking. If there is no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking.
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Chill

Refrigerate foods promptly

  • Refrigerate  within 2 hours. Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and other perishables within 2 hours of cooking or purchasing. Refrigerate within 1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90° F.
  • Thawing Food. There are three safe ways to defrost food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave. Food thawed in cold water or in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
  • Marinating food. Always marinate food in the refrigerator.
  • Divide leftovers. Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.

Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures

Use this chart and a food thermometer to ensure that meat, poultry, seafood, and other cooked foods reach a safe minimum internal temperature.

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Image Source: Shutterstock

Remember, you can’t tell whether meat is safely cooked by looking at it. Any cooked, uncured red meats – including pork – can be pink, even when the meat has reached a safe internal temperature.

Category Food Temperature (°F)  Rest Time 
Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb 160 None
Turkey, Chicken 165 None
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb Steaks, roasts, chops 145 3 minutes
Poultry Chicken & Turkey, whole 165 None
Poultry breasts, roasts 165 None
Poultry thighs, legs, wings 165 None
Duck & Goose 165 None
Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird) 165 None
Pork and Ham Fresh pork 145 3 minutes
Fresh ham (raw) 145 3 minutes
Precooked ham (to reheat) 140 None
Eggs & Egg Dishes Eggs Cook until yolk and white are firm None
Egg dishes 160 None
Leftovers & Casseroles Leftovers 165 None
Casseroles 165 None
Seafood Fin Fish 145 or cook until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork. None
Shrimp, lobster, and crabs Cook until flesh is pearly and opaque. None
Clams, oysters, and mussels Cook until shells open during cooking. None
Scallops Cook until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm. None

Taco Deals:

Use the hashtag #NationalTacoDay on social media to find the best National Taco Day deals or check here.

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Image Source: Shutterstock

Summary

If you plan on having your own fiesta and making your world famous tacos – it’s a good time to brush up on the proper food safety procedures for preparing and serving your tacos.