The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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January 15, 2013

Things to remember when using the microwave

Sure it's been around for decades, but there still a few rules to follow

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Parents should definitely place microwaves out of the reach of small children who may grab a hot item out of sheer curiosity, experts say.

To decrease the chances of liquids exploding in the microwave, the FDA says to add whatever contents you were planning to use beforehand, like cocoa mix, sugar or instant coffee.

And many of us don’t like to actually do it, but reading the manual from cover to cover when purchasing a microwave is extremely important, stresses the FDA, since it outlines the right operating procedures and advises how to avoid any mishaps which may be specific to that particular microwave.

Close the door

The FDA also says not to use a microwave if the door doesn’t close securely, and if a piece of the door is bent, chipped or damaged in any way, it should no longer be used.

And if for some reason the microwave is able to function with the door still open, which happens more than one may think among older and heavily used microwaves; consumers should immediately stop using it and replace it if possible.

The government agency also says that certain microwaves shouldn’t be in use while empty, since the waves can shoot back and forth inside the oven, which can cause damage if there’s nothing to absorb those waves.

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The United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, reminds consumers to be extra mindful when using the microwave when reheating fish, poultry and eggs, and to make sure foods have no “cold spots”, which happens if plates aren’t rotated properly within the oven.

Also, just as you would when cooking meat in a conventional oven, the USDA says consumers should use a food thermometer to make sure bacteria and other potential disease-carrying microorganisms aren’t present in your food.

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