By Amanda Hill

There’s a link circulating via Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites that says we’re all eating dirty food. No, not the “10-second rule” kind. This Men’s Health article claims 10 common foods that we buy at local food stores are contaminated with Salmonella and E. coli. It also claims that we’re all at certain risk of food poisoning…or worse.

Honestly, I didn’t give it much thought the first few times it crossed my Twitter feed. But on the third appearance, I got curious and clicked.

This article insists that several products from the produce aisle to the meat counter will make you and your family very sick. As I scrolled through the 10 food items, I read more and more scary scenarios.

With each “dirty food” product, I noticed a trend. The persistent message was, “Want to save yourself from food poisoning and disease? Then you’d better only buy organic. And heaven help you if you don’t buy free-range eggs.”

Ok, first of all, I can’t afford to buy organic food products. They’re usually more expensive and don’t fit into my grocery budget. By no means do I condemn anyone who does choose to buy organic food products. It’s just not the weekly choice I make for my family.

More importantly, I don’t have to. The food products that I buy at my neighborhood grocery store are safe and healthy—as long as they are stored and prepared correctly.

Just to be sure, I did some research. Sure enough, I found great information and home food safety tips from the American Dietetic Association (ADA). According to the ADA, safe food really comes down to a handful of practical food preparation and storage habits. They’re pretty simple: cook meat thoroughly, wash produce well, store leftovers at the correct temperature (40 degrees in the fridge, 0 degrees in the freezer) and clean out your refrigerator regularly.

At our house, we write the date on our take-out boxes to be sure we don’t keep them too long. It’s much safer than the “smell test.” Ick!

We all want to provide our families with healthy food that they’ll enjoy—not food that will make them sick. But shame on those who use fear to make us feel guilty for serving healthy food products that are 100 percent safe with regular food safety habits.