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Extension > Food Safety > Preserving and Preparing > Safe Meals > Making Safe Baby Food

Preparing Safe Meals

Making Safe Baby Food

By Dave Riley, Extension Educator — Food Safety Extension

Reviewed 2013.

broccoli and spinach baby food in blender

Making baby food is easy and by following these basic tips, it will be safe.

Special care should be taken when preparing foods for babies because they are more vulnerable to bacteria than older children and adults. Before making baby food, always wash your hands and equipment thoroughly in hot, soapy water. Use a single use paper towel to thoroughly dry your hands but let equipment air dry.

Never let cooked food come into contact with raw food. Thoroughly wash cutting boards and utensils that have been used with raw foods to avoid cross-contamination that is responsible for many foodborne illnesses.

When making baby food, use high quality foods that are thoroughly cooked by steaming, boiling, roasting, broiling or cooking in a microwave, with no added fat, salt, or sugar. Use a food thermometer. Be sure to cook poultry to 165 degrees or higher and beef and pork to 160 degrees or higher. Remove skin, bones and fat from meats. Peel vegetables and fruits and remove seeds.

Place the food in a blender, food mill or sieve to make the baby food. The addition of formula, whole pasteurized milk or pasteurized juice may be needed to puree the food smoothly. Do not use raw un-pasteurized milk, raw eggs, honey or corn syrup.

Homemade fruits and vegetables can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days and in the freezer up to 8 months. Meats should be stored no longer than one day in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer. To freeze individual servings, put the mixture in an ice cube tray. Cover with heavy-duty plastic wrap until the food is frozen. Then, pop the cubes into a freezer bag or airtight container and date it.

Do not let baby food sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Harmful bacteria in the food grow very well at room temperatures. Refrigerate or freeze baby food as soon as possible.

Caution! To prevent choking never put solids in a bottle or infant feeder.

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