Do you know how to prevent getting sick from food? When people eat food that hasn’t been cooked or prepared correctly, they can get sick from harmful bacteria that got into the food. Bad bacteria can make millions of copies in just a few hours. Food poisoning can cause health problems that last for a long time or, in the worst case, even death.
Don’t get sick by letting germs spread in your kitchen. By keeping your kitchen clean and following a few simple food safety tips, you can make delicious meals that the whole family will love. Here are seven food safety tips:
Practice Personal Hygiene
It is very important to wash your hands well before you start cooking. Start by washing your hands with as hot water as you can handle. Soap and lather your hands with a soap dispenser for at least 40 seconds, making sure to scrub your wrists and lower arms.
If you’re going to knead dough, you should use a nail brush to clean under your nails. Use a paper towel to dry your hands. You might be tempted to use a dish towel, but remember that dish towels get wiped on everything, so they might not be as clean as your freshly washed hands.
Washing to Prevent Illness
Bacteria that can make you sick can easily live and spread in your kitchen. Bacteria like to live on surfaces that are wet or damp. It’s important to wash and sterilize things properly so that these harmful bacteria don’t stick around.
You can also wash cutting boards, utensils, and dishes in hot, soapy water instead of putting them in the dishwasher. Surfaces like kitchen counters can be cleaned with paper towels and kitchen disinfectant spray. To get rid of bacteria, you should wash kitchen towels and clothes often in the washing machine.
Refrigerate Appropriate Food
To reduce the chance of getting sick from food, stay away from food that is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Putting food in the fridge will slow the growth of bacteria that can make you sick. Perishable foods should be put in the fridge within two hours, or within one hour if it’s hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside.
You should never leave food out on the counter to thaw. Food in the fridge should slowly thaw out of the freezer. If you want to marinate meat, put it in the fridge instead of leaving it out on the counter.
Don’t Cross Contaminate Your Food
Cross-contamination happens when dangerous bacteria from one food gets on another food or surface. For example, if you cut raw chicken on a cutting board, the juice from the chicken can get on the board and the counter. If the juice touches another food item, it becomes contaminated.
Cross contamination can happen in two ways: directly and indirectly. When foods touch each other, this is called “direct contamination.” Indirect contamination happens when bacteria spreads from cooking tools, your hands, or the kitchen counter to food. Raw meat, seafood, poultry, and eggs should not be kept near ready-to-eat foods like fruits, vegetables, and breads when they are being bought, transported, stored, or cooked.
Wash Produce and Fruit
Start with clean hands when you wash leafy greens. Cut off any leaves that are hurt, and wash the rest under running water. To get rid of extra water, you can use a lettuce spinner or pat the leaves dry with a paper towel. You might be tempted to put freshly washed greens in the fridge, but bacteria can grow on the damp leaves.
It’s important to wash fruits and vegetables with skins or rinds so that bacteria on the outside doesn’t get into the food when you cut them. Scrub the fruit or vegetable gently under water with a soft, clean brush and pat dry.
Ensure Food is Cooked Properly
By cooking food the right way, you can make sure that harmful bacteria are killed. Food poisoning can happen if you eat food that wasn’t cooked the right way. Some foods, like potatoes, won’t hurt you if they aren’t cooked right, but they might not taste very good. On the other hand, meat needs to be cooked all the way through before it is safe to eat.
Use a meat thermometer or make a cut in the middle of pork, poultry, sausages, or chicken to see if it’s done. If you eat meat that hasn’t been cooked, you might get diarrhea, stomach cramps, throw up, or get a fever.
Pay Attention to Labels and Expiry Dates
When you go to the grocery store to buy food, it’s important to read the labels and packaging. People often get the “best before” and the “expiration” dates mixed up.
Dates on products tell us the last day they are safe to eat. After this date, the item is no longer safe to eat. The “best before” date doesn’t change how safe food is. Eggs, dry or canned goods, meat, and even some types of eggs all have a “best before” date. It tells the consumer how long a food will keep its nutritional value and taste if it has not been opened.