Did you know that one in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning annually alone? To make sure your family’s meal is not only tasty but as safe as possible, Vkool.com asked the experts for their best food safety tips. Here are their useful basic food safety tips at home that will keep youand your family safe from food poisoning. Keep reading!
I. Food Safety Tips – Basic Rules
To help you figure out clearly how home food safety tips could be divided, in this part, we provide you with four easy steps for safe food safety at home. These steps will walk you through a complete process from buying stage to cooking one. Here they are:
- You should buy the produce that is not damaged or bruised
- When selecting fresh-cut food like a half of a watermelon, you should choose the items that are surrounded by ice or refrigerated
- Those fresh vegetables and fruits separately from poultry, meat, and seafood products
See: list of super foods to buy
Appropriate hand washing might eradicate a large percentage of food poisoning and significantly decrease the risk of the common cold as well as flu.
- When washing, you should let your hands dry with disposable paper towels, clean cloth towels or air dry
- Next, you need to clean the hands for about 20 seconds
- Remember to wash the hands front and back up to the wrists, between the fingers, and under the fingernails
- Do not forget washing your hands when switching different tasks, like handling the raw meat and cutting vegetables
- You should also wash your hands in soapy, warm water before preparing different foods and after handling poultry, raw meat, or seafood
- Keep appliances, cutting boards, countertops, and utensils – clean with soapy, hot water.
- Wash dishcloths as well as towels in the hot cycle of the washing machine.
- A smelly towel, dishcloth, or sponge is a sure sign of unsafe bacterial growth that is lurking nearby.
It is popular knowledge that eating that raw meat could make you sick, yet you might still be at risk unless you do appropriately separate foods to prevent cross- contamination.
Via cross-contamination, bacteria spread. It happens as the juices from raw meats or germs from those unclean objects touch ready-to-eat or cooked foods. Therefore, it is necessary for you to follow simple steps when handling, storing, shopping, and cooking foods. By that way, you could enormously decrease the risk of food poisoning. Besides, at the grocery store, you should separate frozen and fresh, raw meat, sea food, and eggs from ready-to-eat foods and produce in the shopping cart or grocery bags.
In case you use reusable grocery totes for transporting food and produce, place poultry, meat, and sea food in the plastic bags in order to prevent juices from leaking out. Also, it is better for you to place groceries in your back seat rather than the trunk of your vehicle.
- When it comes to storing food, remember to freeze or refrigerate groceries during 2 hours.
- Keep those seafood, poultry, and raw meat on the bottom shelf of the fridge in the plastic bag or the sealed container in order to guarantee that juices will not drip onto those ready-to-eat foods, resulting in contamination.
- Keep the eggs you have just bought in their original carton and store them on refrigerator’s shelves. Avoid placing them in the door.
- When preparing foods, you should pay attention to some special precautions. Remember to wash your hands for 20 seconds before, during and after dealing with foods and raw meats.
- Wash the plates between different uses. If possible, you can use separate plates for handling raw meats, seafood, poultry, and for cooked foods.
- Place those washed produce into some clean storage containers, avoid placing back into original ones.
- Be careful with the tools used while cooking and do not use the same knife for poultry, seafood, and raw meat to chop cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
- It is better for you to use different cutting board for poultry, meat, and seafood, and another one for ready-to-eat foods.
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Commonly, one of the basic food safety tips is that, food is safely cooked as it reaches a properly high enough temperature inside, so this temperature can kill harmful bacteria that lead to food borne illness. Just use a thermometer for measuring the inside temperature of cooked foods.
- Use visual signs of doneness when not using a thermometer. The signs contain:
– Steam rises from food
– Clear juices run from poultry and meat, not pink
– Veal, pork, and poultry are white inside, not red or pink
– Shellfish is opaque and fish flakes easily with a fork
– Egg yolks are really firm, not runny, and eggs whites are opaque
- In case you use a food thermometer for measuring the internal temperature of cooked foods, the safe minimum internal temperature of cooked beef roast, pork, or steaks should be145oF while all poultry should be 165oF throughout the bird.
- In other word, cook the eggs until their yolk and white are firm. Avoid using those recipes in which eggs remain raw or just partially cooked. Dishes including eggs like casseroles should be cooked to 160oF.
- With fish, you should cook to 145oF or till the flesh separates easily with a fork or is opaque.
- You should also warrant that there will be no cold spots in your food where harmful bacteria could survive as cooked in a microwave oven. To get the best results, it is recommended to cover food, stir, and rotate for even cooking. If you do not have a turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice while cooking.
- Bring soup, sauces, and gravy to a boil as reheating. Also, heat the leftovers thoroughly to 1650F.
- Make use of microwave-safe cookware as well as plastic wrap while cooking foods in the microwave oven.
Consider: best American recipes
- It is great to refrigerate foods rapidly and at an appropriate temperature to slow the growth of bacteria and prevent food poisoning, thereby avoid abdominal pain.
- Do not let the leftover foods out of the fridge more than 2 hours. During the temperature of 900F or above, the recommended hour is just 1 hour.
- Make sure that your fridge is regulated below 40oF as this temperature will keep the perishable foods out of the risk of bacteria growth. Keep a fridge thermometer inside the refrigerator at all times.
- In addition, freezing is a lucid option of storage for extending the shelf life of those perishable foods. Just use a thermometer to make sure your freezer is at 0oF or even below.
Check out: foods for digestion
II. Basic Food Safety Tips – How To Handle Risky Food Safely
All foods could cause food poisoning if they are not appropriately handled. Nevertheless, fact is, bacteria grow better in some types of foods like eggs, fruits and vegetables, seafood, cheese, and milk. In this part, you are going to discover hygiene and food safety tips on how to deal with some risky food properly and safely.
1. Rice And Pasta
When it comes to food safety tips, most people are surprised that cooked rice and pasta is considered as a food poisoning risk. Actually, dried rice and pasta can last a significant time so follow the best before the date on the packaging. If it is cooked and starts to cool, toxins formed by Bacillus cereus could form heat resistant spores plus with a heat resistant toxin.
In case cooked foods are allowed to leave cool slowly, spores could germinate. That way, reheating or slightly cooking those foods will not be able to destroy this toxin. Accordingly, the bacteria could grow and manufacture toxin at even the refrigeration temperatures; however, it does much more slowly in compared with the room temperature. Do not leave the precooked food in the fridge for more than three days.
Chicken is a convenient and healthy meat and is considered as the most popular meat in Australia. Keep in mind that poultry contains not only turkey, chickens, and duck, but also squab, quail, geese, guinea fowl, and pheasants. Chicken could also be sold as spatchcock and capons. Apart from the general tips above for handling poultry, this part will give you some specific tips to help you reduce risk of cross contamination from raw poultry:
- Do not wash the raw poultry before cooking because this might spread bacteria throughout the kitchen. Just mop up the excess moisture by using paper towel
- Clean the surfaces, wash and dry hands after contacting raw poultry
- Defrost the poultry in the refrigerator or simple microwave in a safe container to prevent juices dripping on other produce or food
- Cook any poultry to 75oC by using the thermometer in the thickest section of the bird or chicken or until the juices run clear.
3. Fruits And Vegetables
Foods poisoning tends to increase in those Western countries because they no longer eat the traditional meat and cooked vegetables. Instead, they often consume healthier food like fruit or salad. Raw fruits and vegetables are proven good for the human health but they also could be contaminated from the soil or by those people who handled them before you purchase them.
With some types of fruits and vegetables, you do not need to store all of them in the fridge. In reality, as fruits and tomatoes ripen and taste better when left out of the refrigerator, so you could store potatoes in the cool dark place in which they are not going to generate toxins. Wash vegetables under running water and dry them before using. Do not wash before storing them as they might grow moulds. After washing the soil on potatoes or other fruits and vegetables, keep in mind to wash your hands, knife, as well as cutting boards before handling other foods.
After cutting fruits and vegetables, you should cover and store them in the refrigerator where they could not be contaminated by others, particularly chicken or raw meat.
When it comes to freezing fruits and vegetables, you should freeze them by chopping and blanching them after dipping them into the boiling water that will help you kill bacteria. It is recommended that you should freeze fruits and vegetables in small batches and just use during the recommended amount of time.
Seafood, in general, and shellfish, in particular, is known to have bad food safety. Nevertheless, if you know how to handle, store, and cook it properly, it can bring to you a lot of benefits like enhanced energy, increased intelligence, and so on.
Remember that you should not consume shellfish you have harvested if you do not know how qualified the water it is grown in is. Large fish could be cut into fillets before being frozen and used during the recommended period of time.
If the seafood will be cooked, this will kill contamination resulted by improper handling. Yet, if you consume raw oysters, sashimi, sushi, or precooked prawns served cold, the risk of poisoning will increase. Raw seafood is not recommended for those vulnerable individuals like people with immune system problems, pregnant women, young children, and the elderly.
5. Unpasteurized Cheese And Milk
A lot of dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and milk are pasteurized. This means they are safe for people to eat. Pasteurization will decrease those food borne diseases over the years. However, sometime, there are unpasteurized hard or semi-hard cheeses are sold in the market but these often undergo the strict producing processes as well as testing. Additionally, they must also be labeled as unpasteurized.
Vulnerable individuals mentioned above should not consume unpasteurized cheese and milk because these foods might result in food poisoning. In case you milk your own goat or cow, always make sure that it is healthy. You might want to pasteurize that milk at home. Some tips below will instruct you how to do so:
- Use a double boiler then place water in the bottom and the milk in the top
- After that, place an exact, metal-stem thermometer as well as spoon in that milk during the process of pasteurizing.
- Heat that milk whilst stirring continually to the temperature of 75oC, maintain it at this temperature for over 15 seconds. Bear in mind that constant stirring is critical for you to obtain the even distribution of the heat.
- Later, place the top portion of that double boiler including the milk in a certain pan containing cold water. Continue stirring that milk for achieving quick cooling
- As the temperature of the milk is below 55oC, you can pour the cool water out and replace it with cold water. Do the same with the cool milk with occasional stirring so you will get the temperature is about 5oC or below.
- Pour that cooled milk into a clean container, then cover and store it in your fridge at 5oC or even colder till used.
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