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The Boston Globe

Food & dining

Food safety in numbers

Food editor Sheryl Julian tests her knowledge and earns a ServSafe certificate after completing a Massachusetts Restaurant Association course and exam

SOUTHBOROUGH — I’ve spent the last few weeks wondering why I never poisoned my guests. Unintentionally, that is.

I might roast a chicken after letting it sit on the counter for an hour, then after roasting let it sit out again for at least another hour because I decided one day that it tastes better when it’s not hot. I may not have been sure to let the bird reach 165 degrees, which is the USDA safe temperature, because while undercooked chicken is dreadful, overcooking a free-range bird is a pity. I may also not have washed my hands enough while cooking (though I wash them often) and don’t routinely sanitize my cutting boards. I habitually put still-hot food into the fridge, and often leave meat out on the counter to defrost overnight (shoot me for that one), and much more.

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