5 Basic Food Safety Tips Which Everyone Should Know
Everybody wants to eat safe and fresh food. Food Safety is a must in the handling, preparation, cooking and storage of food in ways that prevent food borne diseases. Food borne diseases are the result of eating contaminated food. Mishandling of food causes harmful bacteria, viruses, molds, toxins and contaminants, parasites, allergens etc. Everyone should be concerned about food safety as I am sure that we all know someone who has encountered an unpleasant moment brought on by food borne diseases as it happens all too often.
Besides suffering from a belly ache and nausea, the results of mishandled foods can have much more serious outcomes for those with weaker immune systems such as young children, pregnant women and senior adults. While many food borne diseases may be self-limiting, some can be very serious and even result in death. There are 5 important keys to preventing food borne diseases.
Ensuring food safety starts with food handling. When it comes to food handling, most folks don’t do it often enough or properly. When working in the kitchen you should wash your hands. Always wash your hands with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw food and ready-to-eat food. After using the washroom, taking a break to talk on the phone or answer the door, sneezing and scratching/touching your skin or clothes, smoking, coughing or touching any contaminated surfaces. wash your hands and dry with a paper towel or cloth. Wear disposable gloves if you have a cut or sore on finger. Always use clean knives which is another thing we are always using when handling food. Another tip is to not use the same utensils for cooked food as you have for uncooked food.
Using food sealing systems:
To keep raw or cooked foods safe from dust, germs and bacteria a good vacuum sealer plays an important role. Using a food sealer helps to vacuum all of the air out of the bag or container being sealed and this is the perfect way to prevent any bacteria or germs from growing inside of the food bag due to all of the oxygen being removed. As a result, your sealed food will stay fresh for much longer than ordinary storage options, and you will find that your properly sealed foods taste as if you just purchased them… delicious and fresh. An alternative would be to use ziplocks / mylar pouches like these to store part of your food.
Trying to find the best vacuum sealer can be time consuming but the end result is worth it. So many popular and newly arrived manufacturers produce and sell fabulous vacuum sealer machines at the various online stores. FoodSaver is the one of the most popular vacuum sealer manufacturers. To make it easy for you you can find the top rated FoodSaver reviews and buying guide here.
Clean Cooking Utensils:
Cleaning is very important in food safety. Without proper cleaning food varied types of bacteria can consume our body. We need to keep all cooking utensils clean while cooking to ensure proper food handling at all times. At first wash your cutting boards, knives, dishes, utensils and countertops with soap and hot water and use separate cutting boards when preparing foods, especially after cutting raw meats, poultry and/or seafood. Sanitize cutting boards and counters with a dilute bleach solution – Add 2/3 cup bleach to a gallon of water; put in a spray bottle for easy use and for quick sanitizing.
Do not use a cutting board with cracks or scars. Keep the refrigerator clean and dry. Also clean the lids of canned foods before opening. Make sure all kitchen towels are washed regularly with soap and hot water and are thoroughly dried because damp and dirty towels are breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. Do not leave food around as it may attract insects, bacteria or vermin and do not allow pets in the kitchen. Keep your kitchen free of insects and pests.
The way we cook our food is as important as the way we prepare. Different foods need a different approach. Inadequate cooking is a common cause of food poisoning. Cross contamination from raw to cooked foods, such as from hands or utensils, can also cause food poisoning. Most foods, especially meat, poultry, fish and eggs, should be cooked thoroughly to kill most types of food poisoning bacteria. Always wash your food with water although now it is recommended not to do so with chicken. By washing chicken you can contaminate all over and around the sink and chicken must be thoroughly cooked regardless, so it is safe to simply cook and serve.
If you are not sure about the quality of your drinking water, boil water for at least 5 minutes. Cook food thoroughly to kill germs that cause food borne diseases. Aim for an internal temperature of 75 °C or hotter when you cook food. Heating foods to this temperature kills most food-poisoning bacteria. Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of foods during the cooking process. Cook chopped meat, sausages, whole chickens or stuffed meats right through to the center. You should not be able to see any pink meat and the juices should be clear. Cook fish until it flakes easily with a fork and foods made from eggs such as omelets and baked egg custards thoroughly. Avoid giving food containing raw eggs to pregnant women, young children, elderly people and anyone with a suppressed immune system.
Cross-contamination is when bacteria are spread between foods, surfaces and/or ingredients. It is most likely to happen when raw food touches ready to eat food, equipment or surfaces. Cross-contamination is one of the most common causes of food borne diseases. To avoid food borne diseases clean and disinfect work surfaces, chopping boards and equipment thoroughly before you start preparing food and after you have used them to prepare raw food.
Use different equipment for raw meat/poultry and ready-to-eat foods unless they can be heat disinfected in, for example, a commercial dishwasher. Wash your hands before preparing foods and thoroughly after touching raw foods of any kind. Keep raw and ready to eat food apart at all times, including packaging materials used for the food. Store raw food below ready to eat food in the fridge. If possible, use separate fridges for raw foods. Provide separate working areas, storage facilities, clothing and staff for the handling food. Use separate machinery and equipment, such as vacuum packing machines and slicers for raw foods. Separate cleaning materials, including cloths, sponges and mops, should be used in areas where ready to eat foods are stored, handled and prepared. Make sure that your staff knows how to avoid cross-contamination.
Everyone enjoys fresh, delicious foods for their daily mealtime routine. Without proper nutrition, our physical growth is interrupted and on the other hand often we got sick due to eating and consuming contaminated food. If we use the tips above, I believe we can enjoy tasty delicious foods without wasting and we can stay healthier by not exposing ourselves to food borne illnesses and diseases. Plus you can reduce food waste and buy in bulk to spread your budget even further. Hope these tips help and leave some comment love while you are here!