An essential part of preparing a meal is making sure to use the proper food safety techniques. Without proper safety protocols your food can become contaminated and pass along foodborne illnesses to whomever eats or comes in contact with it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 48 million Americans become sick from foodborne illnesses each year. Of those 48 million people, 128,000 are so sick that they need to be hospitalized, and 3,000 people even die from the foodborne illness. To prevent foodborne illness from happening to you or your family, it is important to practice food safety protocols while handling, preparing, and storing all of your meals.
Cleaning Up the Kitchen
Keeping your kitchen clean is an important step in food safety. After each meal, it is important to clean and sanitize all surfaces where food was prepared or handled. All surfaces should be washed thoroughly with hot water and soap. For a deeper clean the surfaces can even be washed with a diluted chemical mixture of 1 tablespoon bleach and one gallon of water. All cooking appliances used when preparing the meal should also be washed thoroughly inside and out. An important step that most people tend to forget about is cleaning out your refrigerator. You should be going through your refrigerator once a week to discard any expired items to prevent growing bacteria. Vegetables and Fruits should also be rinsed under water before being consumed to get rid of any pesticide residue. You should always clean your hands thoroughly after touching any raw meats or fish as well, this will help prevent transporting harmful bacteria.
Know Your Temps
Foodborne Illness is caused by harmful bacteria, some of the most common being E. Coli, salmonella, and staphylococcus. This harmful bacteria can be consumed by eating undercooked foods and can be prevented by making sure all food is being cooked to their accurate internal temperatures. This can be done by using a kitchen thermometer. Checking the internal temperature is especially important when preparing foods like meats, fish, poultry, and eggs. Before preparing a new recipe, be sure to research what temperatures your ingredients should be kept at to avoid them being in a danger zone for the harmful bacteria.
When buying food at the grocery store, look for broken seals and damaged containers before putting them in the cart. Also, be sure to check expiration or sell by dates to only purchase fresh and safe to eat foods. When cashing out in the register line, be sure that your meat or fish is packaged separately to avoid juices spreading onto your other foods. Separation is key when storing your foods away at home as well. You should always store raw meat or seafood below any other foods in your refrigerator and place them in plastic bags to avoid contamination. If possible, use different cutting boards and other cooking utensils for meats or fish and veggies. If not, be sure to clean them thoroughly in between each use. Doing this will lessen the chances of leftover bacteria being transported from your raw meats or fish to your cut veggies and fruits.
More Food Safety and Cleaning Tips
- Your Gateway to Food Safety Information
- USDA Food Safety Education
- World Health Organization Food Safety
- Partnership for Food Safety Education
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Center for Science in the Public Interest
- 8 Facts on Safe Food Handling at Home
- Choose MyPlate Food Safety
- National Food Safety Month
- Food Safety During an Emergency
- National Pesticide Information Center
- Kid’s Health Food Safety
- Brain Pop Food Safety Game
- Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources
- Food Safety Magazine
- Kids World Food Safety
- Top 10 Food Safety Tips to Help Keep Your Family Safe
- 10 Commandments of Food Safety
- Parent’s Magazine 13 Tips on Food Safety
- The Complete Guide to Restaurant Food Safety
- 6 Food Safety Tips for Your Next Cookout
- Food Safety Tips for Summer
- Important Food Safety Tips for Poultry
- Fourth of July Food Safety Tips
- Eggs and Dairy: Food Safety Tips
- Holiday Food Safety Tips
- What are Foodborne Illnesses?
- Common Bacteria and Viruses that Cause Food Poisoning
- Stop Foodborne Illness
- Causes and Symptoms of Foodborne Illness
- Preventing Foodborne Illness