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8 food-safety basics everyone should know

The smallest mistakes in the kitchen can make you the sickest.
/ Source: TODAY

With all of the stress of making kids' lunches and whipping up weeknight dinners for the whole crew, we wanted to remind you of the most important thing to remember in the kitchen: food safety. The smallest and easiest mistakes in the kitchen can make you sick.

Here's some of our top food safety tips to keep in mind while you are in the kitchen.

Smelly, sticky or slimy? Food safety rules you shouldn't ignore

Trust your gut when it comes to determining whether food has gone bad or not. If you think that the chicken in the fridge smells a little bit funky, or that your asparagus isn't as green as it should be — just chuck it.

How to clean up your pantry

NBC News health and nutrition editor, Madelyn Fernstrom, tells us what we should keep in our pantry and what we should toss.

RELATED: How safe is your ground beef? Consumer Reports on how to avoid harmful bacteria

You can't judge meat by its color and 4 other common food handling mistakes

Every year, it's estimated that roughly 48 million people become sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The best way to cut down your risk of getting sick is to be aware of the most common food handling mistakes: hand washing, undercooking food, thawing, cross contamination and ignoring the 2-hour rule. Read more here.

RELATED: Are those gloves clean? What to know about the hands handling your food

When should you eat that frozen food... or toss it? Check these guidelines

The freezer is the ultimate savior for saving money and not wasting food. Whether you are buying chicken in bulk or have leftover pasta sauce from dinner, most of us just throw it in the freezer until we will eat it.

Lucky for us — it turns out that all foods stored in the freezer (for whatever amount of time) are safe to eat. Even though they are technically safe to eat, the texture, taste and flavor diminish the longer it's frozen. Read more here to learn more about how long your ground beef can live in your freezer.

Should you worry about pesticides on fruit?

Careful washing is the key to making sure your fruits and veggies are pesticide-free.

What you need to know about deli meats

Shutterstock / Pugovica88

Deli meats are a staple in many American households. But, are they really that bad for you? Read more to get the entire scoop.

RELATED: Spring clean your fridge: What to keep or toss

Never waste food again: What expiration dates really mean

Did you know that the sell-by date on your food actually has nothing to do with whether it's fresh or not? Before you clean out your fridge, make sure you know what some of these common and sometimes confusing packaging labels really mean.

What you should never refrigerate — and other foods to chill or keep warm

Every food has a different shelf life, that can vary depending on how you use it. It can get confusing to keep track of where you should be storing each jar or condiment when they are opened or sealed. Read the entire list here, before you spend any more time wondering if the salsa should go in the pantry or the fridge.

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