Food Safety Principles: Learn From Expert Advice

Food Safety Practices Before and After the Hurricane

Food safety is everyone’s problem, not just restraint owners and professional chefs. Safe food practices start at home. Maintaining them can help you protect yourself and your family from lethal foodborne illnesses. These can result from the consumption of food that is contaminated with toxic elements and microbial pathogens which can wreak havoc on the body. As our food supply becomes global, the importance of ensuring food safety can no longer be denied.

Food safety principles to follow

Here are some safety rules that can guide you in the best ways to handle food in the kitchen:

  • Keep your food and kitchen by cleaning, separating, cooking and chilling ingredients/dishes.
  • Never place food such as groceries and cooked items out at room temperature for more than 2 hours if you don’t want it to get spoiled. It takes less than an hour for food to spoil in hot weather. If it is left in temperatures between 40 and 140° F it will enter the danger zone.
  • Marinades cannot eliminate bacteria so make sure you keep marinated meat in the fridge till you need it.
  • Vegetables should be washed and even after they are peeled. Bacteria from the peeler or rind can contaminate veggies.
  • Salmonella has no scent so make sure meat is cooked through or to the right temperature.
  • Bacteria grows rapidly on meat that is left on the counter to thaw.
  • Just because leftovers don’t smell bad doesn’t mean they are safe to eat.

The effects of food poisoning can be devastating to some people and even deadly in some cases. Here are some simple rules to follow to maintain clean food habits at home that can keep your family safe:

Cleaning hands and surfaces

Before handling food wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. This should be done after you have handled a pet, used the bathroom or changed diapers and before you eat/cook.

Wash all surfaces and utensils after use.

Wash vegetables and fruit before using them and even after you peel them. However, don’t wash eggs, beef or poultry as that can help bacteria spread rapidly. The juices of the meat can splash on you or the counter as well which will create unhygienic conditions.

Prevent Cross-Contamination

Even if you have cleaned your hands and surfaces thoroughly, contamination will still be imminent. To prevent this keep food separate. For instance, seafood, meat, eggs and poultry should be kept separately to prevent cross contamination. Prepare or cut meat and vegetables on different and clean surfaces Keep food separate in the fridge and in your grocery basket.

Proper refrigeration

Keep cold food from thawing by keeping it in the refrigerator at all times. Unsafe temperatures can result in illnesses. All perishable food should be kept in the refrigerator within 2 hours. Avoid thawing or marinating foods on the counter at room temperature. That surface becomes a breeding ground for bacteria then. Thaw it in the fridge and only take it out when you need to cook it.

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