Food Handling – Ways To Keep Your Food Safe
When bacteria, parasites or viruses have flourished beyond reprieve on your food or drink, poisoning may occur. Food poisoning can lead to vomiting, fever and diarrhea, which may in turn lead to dehydration.
People are immune to contaminated food, only to an extent. Unless it is compromised by bad health and aging, our immune systems are strong enough to withstand simple contamination. But contamination can become so extensive that it floors the body’s imperviousness.
Follow these four simple steps for handling food properly:
Always wash hands. Clean countertops often
If you must obey any rule, it is that you should wash hands before handling food. Do not prepare food if you have diarrhea.
Likewise, make sure to keep your countertops and kitchen surfaces clean. As much as possible do not use cloth towels in cleaning countertops and kitchen surfaces. If you must, wash them with non-toxic agent and hot water or in your washing machine’s hot cycle. Alternatively, you may use paper towels.
Always remember that bacteria and other disease vectors thrive in dirty countertops, cutting boards, sponges and utensils. Wash them at least with soap and hot water, before and after preparing food. If you have a choice, go for plastic cutting boards or something as nonporous.
Cook food properly
Bacteria and other disease carriers can have such high threshold of tolerance to high temperature. Anything undercooked, they easily populate. In fact, the CDC has strongly associated some severe diseases with undercooked ground beef. In this view, invest in a clean thermometer for measuring food’s internal temperature.
If you have one, ascertain that you cook whole poultry not below 180º Fahrenheit. Also, cook ground beef patties at no less than 160º Fahrenheit. Prepare roasts and steaks at 145º Fahrenheit. Leftovers, meanwhile, should be heated at 165º Fahrenheit before eating again.
For eggs, cook them until both the whites and yolk turn solid. Try to avoid preparing dishes using raw eggs.
For fish, eat only those that come off easily when forked.
Determine if your food has cold spots before turning it in the microwave oven. Food safety experts would recommend you cover the food and let it rotate on the turntable. If there’s none, use your hand to rotate it once.
Segregate, segregate, segregate
Anything raw is a food of concern. Raw animal food, like meat, seafood, eggs and unpasteurized milk, tend to get contaminated easily. While you could take away some of them by washing, contaminants do not go away from raw vegetables and fruits completely. From this kind of food, contaminants can easily clamber onto other food, setting off the chain of cross-contamination.
With that in mind, move ready-to-eat foods away from raw ones. Distance poultry, meat, fish and other raw food items from other goods in your refrigerator, let alone shopping cart.
Never forget to wash your hands when exposed to raw goods. Clean the utensils, dishes and cutting boards that come into contact with them too. Otherwise, you must not put cooked food on anything that had contained raw goods. As an option, you may cut raw meat on a separate cutting board.
Refrigerate food as soon as possible. Bacteria’s threshold for cold temperature is as low as its threshold for hot temperature is high. Freezing and subzero temperatures deter bacteria from burgeoning on your food.
Food, be it cooked, raw or leftover, should be stashed away within two hours from preparing. The refrigerator is also the safest place to marinate food. If you must defrost food from the freezer, never let it out at room temperature. Transfer it to the refrigerator. Or you could microwave or pour running water on it.
Here’s a tip: the freezer’s temperature must never hover above 0º Fahrenheit when it holds food, while the refrigerator’s must not drift beyond 40º Fahrenheit. If your refrigerator and freezer have no thermometer, use an appliance thermometer to inspect their coldness.
Cold air must move around the ref to guarantee the food’s safety, so leave space in between items. Keep leftovers inside smaller containers rather than their original ones.