When it comes to food safety, you can never be too careful. People in the food industry take it really seriously and have it down to a science. Foodborne illnesses can strike if proper care is not taken. People can get sick (or worse) and millions of dollars can be lost. Whether in the business world or even at home, always practice food safety and be aware of guidelines to keep everyone safe. Here are some helpful tips in food safety that you need to practice.
1. Clean Hands & Surfaces
Bacteria can get everywhere and this includes your hands, food, utensils, cutting boards and counter tops. It’s important to wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before handling food and also afterwards. When using a cutting board, wash it with hot soapy water and then use it again. Use paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. When done, you can sanitize the surface. Rinse fruits and vegetables with running tap water.
If ever there was a heaven for bacteria, cross-contamination would be it. Cross-contamination is ideal for them to spread. Foods must be handled properly. Improper handling of seafood, eggs, raw meat and poultry produces a perfect environment for cross-contamination. Keep these separate in your grocery cart, grocery bags and fridge to reduce the chances of cross-contamination. Try to use separate cutting boards; one for fresh produce and another for seafood, poultry and raw meat and even then, wash thoroughly after each use.
3. Safe Internal Temperatures
Foods have to be cooked to a certain internal temperature in order to kill bacteria and make it safe. Depending on what’s being cooked, the internal temperature will vary. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature. For example, roasts and steaks should be at least 145°F, depending on how you cook it. Poultry should be at least 165°F. Fish should be a minimum of 145°F. Just make sure to find out the proper internal temperature of whatever you’re cooking (and how you’re cooking it) as it can vary.
4. Prompt Refrigeration
You should promptly refrigerate foods as this slows down the growth of harmful bacteria. Try to store it in the fridge in such a way that there is proper air circulation. The temperature of the fridge should be 40°F or below as this reduces the possibility of foodborne illness. Don’t allow poultry, eggs, raw meat, cut fruits and vegetables to sit for more than two hours at room temperature before putting them in the fridge.
Be diligent in enforcing these rules and you will greatly reduce the chances of getting a foodborne illness.