Figure 1-1: Food Safety
Every year, one out of every ten people becomes ill from eating contaminated food. Although ensuring the safety of our food is everyone’s job, consumers and those who work with food can significantly reduce the incidence of food-related illnesses.
According to a consumer product expert at NSF, “More people cook their meals at home; it’s important to follow the highest standards of food safety, cleanliness, and hygiene.” “The latest research shows that the coronavirus is not spread by food, but it’s still important to follow food safety tips to avoid other risks like E. coli, Salmonella, yeast, and mold that can cause foodborne illness.”
There are some safety precautions you need to be aware of before you enter the kitchen, whether you’re taking a virtual cooking class to start a new pastime or you’re in charge of making meals for the family. Following all the necessary protocols is important to ensure its safety when working with food.
So, let’s introduce you to the top ways to promote food safety in your home and other settings.
1. Always Wash Up Beforehand:
Figure 1-2: Always Wash Your Hand
The best way to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands often, which is conventional wisdom. Regarding food, this piece of advice is more important than ever. Before you begin, you should sanitize your hands because they are a common source of germs.
Always wash your hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water before and after handling food. It’s an effective strategy for protecting your food and hands from germs. To maximize each wash cycle’s effectiveness in reducing germs’ prevalence, you should wash for at least 20 seconds.
Make sure your ingredients and equipment get the same care. Before you start cooking, ensure all your fruits and vegetables have been washed, and then clean your knives and cutting boards.
2. Be Careful With High-Risk Foods:
Figure 2-1: Be Careful With High-Risk Foods
Pay extra attention to high-risk foods like raw meat, eggs, dairy, and seafood. You should be extra careful when purchasing these items so that you can safely prepare and eat them at home.
Make sure that the meat, poultry, and fish you plan to use are still edible by checking their expiration dates. As a general rule, you should also avoid foods with strong smells you can’t explain, even if it hasn’t gone bad yet. Refrigerated items should be your last purchase of the day to ensure their maximum freshness once you get them home.
3. Clean and Sanitize Surfaces
Figure 2-2: Clean and Sanitize Surfaces
Washing your hands is merely the first step toward keeping your kitchen clean. Ensure that any surfaces that come into contacts with raw food, such as cutting boards and countertops, receive the same treatment. Germs can spread and make their way to surfaces that may come into touch with your food, so take precautions to clean and maintain hygiene on those surfaces.
To sanitize your cutting boards, make a DIY cleaning solution of 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water. After disinfecting, thoroughly clean your cutting boards with warm, soapy water. Paper towels are perfect for wiping down cutting boards after washing and patting them dry.
4. Separate Different Food Items
Figure 3-1: Separate Different Food Items
Separating different foods is a popular food safety tip. Make sure you have multiple cutting boards to handle the various kinds of food. You should designate one cutting board for meat, another for vegetables, and a third for food that has been cooked or otherwise prepared.
There is a chance that raw food, especially meat, contains dangerous pathogens that could spread to other ingredients. If you only have one knife, make sure to give it a thorough cleaning after each time you use it to cut raw meat so that bacteria can be removed. For the same reason, never put cooked food on a plate or board that has previously held uncooked food in order to avoid cross-contamination.
Using multiple cutting boards and plates may appear to be a burdensome task, but it is an effective method for ensuring that food is prepared in a sanitary and hygienic manner in the kitchen. Uncooked foods should be stored on the refrigerator’s lower shelves, below the cooked and ready-to-eat foods, to prevent juices from dripping onto them.
5. Cook Thoroughly
Figure 3-2: Cook Thoroughly
It’s important to cook food thoroughly so that the internal temperature is high enough to kill any bacteria that might be present. Different foods and cuts of meat may have different temperatures, but some general rules about safe internal temperatures can give you an idea of what to expect.
If you’re just starting out in the kitchen, you might need some tools to help you determine if your food is done cooking. Invest in a cooking thermometer for more precise temperature readings.
Once you have enough experience, you can use the thermometer to help you fine-tune your recipes and make your food safer to consume. Would you like to try cooking something rare, medium, or well done? If that’s the case, a thermometer can be a handy tool for ensuring accuracy.
Figure 4-1: Keep Food at a Safe Temperature
Keeping food at an appropriate temperature helps keep its flavor intact and reduces the likelihood of becoming contaminated after leaving the kitchen. Rule of thumb: keep hot food at around 60°C and cold food at around 4.4°C. Maintain maximum freshness until the first bite by keeping the food warm in warming trays, crockpots, or slow cookers.
Make sure that food is cooked and stored at the right temperature to stop bacteria from growing. To stop the growth of bacteria that could be harmful, you should keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
Figure 4-2: Use Your Refrigerator Wisely
Putting leftovers in the fridge is a great way to keep them safe from germs and eat them again later. If you want to avoid food safety problems, you should put your leftovers in the fridge within two hours. When it’s hot, do it in less than an hour.
Don’t pack your fridge to the brim with food. The indoor air conditioning requires adequate headroom for airflow. To speed up the cooling process, portion out large amounts of leftovers into several smaller, shallow containers.
When you take leftovers out of the freezer, thaw them in the fridge or in water instead of at room temperature. To keep food warm while thawing change water every 30 minutes. Microwaves thaw quickly. Cook the food right after thawing to be safe. When it comes to food, be cautious. To cook healthy, safe food, follow these suggestions.
To sum up:
Food safety can be maintained and the risk of foodborne illness can be reduced to a significant extent if best practices are put into action. In the end, making the safety of food a top priority is an essential step in the process of protecting the health and well-being of consumers all over the world. Stay safe and learn more about health-related continuing education, eetsonline.com.