4 Tips for Food Safety in the Home
January 17, 2013
Culinary Nutritionist Jason Lau imparts his top tips for optimizing food safety in the kitchen.
"Eating Healthy Food" is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions made by Americans year-on-year. If you've decided to cook more healthy food at home, it's important to make sure that you're not just cooking delicious, healthy food, but that your food is cooked safely. Here are 4 ways to minimize the risk of any illness spreading in your kitchen:
Just add water!
Wash your hands often. Many studies have shown that hand-washing can stop the spread of many types of infection-causing viruses and bacteria, thereby preventing food-borne illness. Before you cook, wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap & warm running water. It is also a good idea to wash your hands throughout the cooking process, just to be on the safe side. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, you should wash them thoroughly even though you are planning to cut or peel them; bacteria can actually move from outside to inside when you remove the skin. Just simply use running water at room temperature to wash them for about 10-20 seconds. Keep in mind that it might not be a good idea to wash raw meat products because you are likely to spread bacteria from the meat juices to your countertop.
Temperature is key!
We must cook food to a safe temperature to prevent any food-borne illness. 145 is your magic number as most meats require a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. How can we make sure? Maybe it’s time to add a food thermometer to your kitchen. Also, never thaw refrigerated items on your counter. Instead, thaw them under running water or simply use the thaw setting on your microwave.
Separate when preparing!
Try with a coding system to separate your chopping blocks. Either use a color coding system or just simply different size chopping boards for different produce. Plan a fun system that can work in your kitchen, and be sure to use separate utensils when handling cooked and raw foods.
Don’t forget the leftovers!
When it comes to leftovers, refrigerate them within 2 hours in a clean and shallow container. If you use a large pot, the food might not be able to cool down to the safe temperature zone quickly enough. Also, try to avoid overfilling your fridge. This will help to make sure there is enough cold air circulating, keeping everything cool and at an even temperature.
Do you have any food safety tips of your own? Share them in the comments below!
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