Beyond practicing safety food handling in the kitchen and keeping tabs on expiration dates, your kitchen can be an even healthier place for preparing and cooking safe, healthy food by observing these five basic food safety tips:
Clean hands. Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling food. In kitchen terms that means cleaning your hands with soap and hot water for at least half a minute. The soap not only makes it possible for you to easily remove dirt, grime, and microbes (yes, germs!) from your hands but also grease and greasy substances, two inescapable kitchen ingredients that plain water can’t wash away. Hot water makes the cleaning easier and faster.
Cutting-edge pledge. Wash and sanitize your cutting boards, counters, and knives after cutting/preparing raw meat products, poultry or seafood (including fish). Uncooked animal products can carry a load of microbes—including E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella bacteria, three of the top five pathogens that cause foodborne illness in the United States—so a good cleaning is always required. Washing requires you to use hot soapy water to slough off the dirt; sanitizing requires you to use a diluted bleach solution (2/3 cup bleach to one gallon of water). If you’re iffy about commercial bleach, you can use baking powder instead. It’s a great sanitizer and greasy-gunk dissolver in one nature-friendly package.
Surface gains. Never put food on or even near un-sanitized surfaces where meat, poultry, or seafood had been placed or prepared. Time and again, these food items have proved to be the causes of the most common foodborne illnesses in America. Be mindful that in closed environments, such as a refrigerator, food should not touch raw meat, poultry or seafood or be placed near to each other.
Dried goods. Wash sponges and dish towels frequently. Better still, replace them regularly. Being often wet, they’re great breeding places for pathogens and other germs. To help prevent contamination in the kitchen, use paper towels to dry your hands, particularly after handling raw meat, poultry or seafood.
Cool stuff. Depending on the food item and time of serving, refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food, and leftovers within two hours. There’s just a small window of safety before food items start to go bad because of bacterial growth. Bacteria love a certain temperature range which, unfortunately, includes room temperature (about 21 °C or 70 °F). Heat is the enemy here. So if you thought of letting your chicken casserole sit out on the table while you watched the Academy Awards is a good idea, think again!
To know more about food safety tips in the kitchen, check out the food handler training courses on Learn2Serve.com.
Source: TABC Blog by Learn 2 Serve