June, 2017

Food Safety 101: Best Ways In Keeping Food Safe

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With regards to food, safety is a major concern. For many people, the kitchen is the heart of the household. It’s the room where family and friends bond as they cook food. However, it’s also a place where possible food poisoning creeps around.

When you eat or drink something, you can get food poisoning if it is contaminated with any number of bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. These infections are minor and go away on their own. Sometimes, it’s so bad you have to go to the hospital.

You can take steps to your kitchen to protect yourself and your family from getting sick in the first place.

    1. Clean Way of Living

      Everyone in your household should clean and wash your hands with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. You should also wash your hands well after using the bathroom changing diapers and handling pets. You should also clean your countertops and other surfaces often. Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, sponges, and countertops. Wash your kitchen utensils after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food.

      Use plastic or other nonporous cutting boards. These boards should be run through the dishwasher after each use. You can use paper towels in cleaning up kitchen surfaces, or cloth towels but wash them

    2. Things must be separated

      When handling raw meat, poultry, and seafood, keep it away from ready-to-eat foods. Detach it also from other foods in your grocery shopping cart and in your refrigerator. When they mix, it’s called cross-contamination. Never place cooked food on a plate that just held raw meat, poultry, or seafood.

    3. Embrace the Heat

      You need to cook food to the right temperatures to kill the harmful bacteria.

      You can use a clean temperature on measuring the internal temperature of cooked foods. Make sure that meat, poultry, casseroles, and other foods are cooked all the way through.

      Here are a few specifics on that:

      • Cook roasts and steaks to at least 145 F.
      • Whole poultry (chicken, turkey, duck) should be cooked to 165 F.
      • Cook ground beef (hamburger) to at least 160 F.
      • Ground chicken or turkey should be cooked to 165 F.

      Don’t use recipes in which eggs remain raw or only partially cooked. Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. Fish should flake easily with a fork.

      When cooking in a microwave oven, make sure there are no cold spots in food where bacteria can survive. For best results, cover food, stir and rotate for even cooking. If there is no turntable, rotate dishes by hand once or twice during cooking.

      Bring sauces, soups, and gravy to a rolling boil when reheating. Heat other leftovers thoroughly to 165 F.

    4. Keep It Cool

      Refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures keep harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying. Set your refrigerator no warmer than 40 F and the freezer no warmer than 0 F.

      Some other tips:

      • Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food, and leftovers within 2 hours
      • Never defrost food at room temperature. Thaw food in the refrigerator, under cold running water, or in the microwave.
      • Divide large amounts of leftovers into small, shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.
      • Don’t pack the refrigerator full. Cool air must circulate to keep food safe.
    5. Throw It Out If It Smell Unpleasant

      We naturally hate to waste food but don’t be tempted to hold onto food if you aren’t sure about it. Toss it out if:

      • You don’t know how long it’s been sitting out
      • It doesn’t smell or look right.
      • Raw food has touched cooked food

      It is very important that people must understand how their behavior and activities contribute to the safety of food. From processes on the farm to practices in the kitchen, human activities play an important role in food safety. We face many challenges in keeping our food safe. Safer food promises healthier and longer lives and less costly health care, as well as a more resilient food industry. Establishing and maintaining a safety culture should always be considered as a long-term investment and not a cost.

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