What’s your main goal when you’re cooking (for yourself or for others)?
I’m guessing it is to make something tasty. That’s always a good goal.
The last thing you want to do is make yourself or others sick from poor food handling.
So, for this Cooking 101 post, I wanted to share some information with you regarding food safety and handling. *Getting up on my soap box*
I know — it’s not really that fun to talk or think about, but I believe it’s very important for us all to consider when we are preparing food. For instance, did you know that, in every carton of a dozen eggs, 8 out of the 12 eggs carry Salmonella? Pretty scary, right?
Admittedly, I’m used to people rolling their eyes when I start to discuss this topic (mostly my husband and close friends because I talk about it a lot).
But, an important point to consider is this: Even if you don’t get sick from poor food handling, someone else might. This is especially true when you are preparing food for young children, the sick, injured, elderly or anyone else who may have suppressed immune systems, either naturally or because of medications they are taking.
- Always wash your hands before, during and after handling food as well as after using the restroom. Pretty obvious, but still should be mentioned.
- Avoid cross-contamination of your various meat products. Remember that different types of raw meats shouldn’t touch each other because they have different temperatures at which they need to be cooked to kill dangerous bacteria.
- Refrigerate food as quickly as possible after cooking. Bacteria starts to multiply the longer it sits unrefrigerated.
- Cover any open wounds on your hands or forearms with Band-Aids or plastic gloves, if necessary.
- Keep your hair out of the food by wearing a hat or hair net. Because, well, eww — no one likes to find hair in your food.
- Keep food in the refrigerator until you need it.
- Raw food and cooked food should always be stored separately.
- Raw meats should be stored in the bottom of the refrigerator to avoid potential leakage.
- After cutting raw meats, wash you hands, cutting board, knife, and counter-tops with hot, soapy water.
- Do not buy or use food past “Sell-By,” “Use-By,” or other expiration dates. This is just asking for trouble.
I could make this list a whole lot longer, but then I’d probably have you all rolling your eyes at me too. *Sniff* If you have any questions or additional tips you wish to share, please feel free to do so in the Comments below.
I strongly recommend attending a Food Handling and Safety class in your area. Many colleges offer them as Continuing Education for a nominal fee. You’ll learn a lot about food handling…maybe even enough to make you rethink some of the poor practices you may do. I know it did for me.