Do you enjoy cooking? Are you always told to be safe in the kitchen but don’t know what food safety is? Following these tips will ensure you’re being food safe, while creating those masterpiece meals.
Making sure you clean your hands, utensils and surfaces before, during and after the cooking process is important. Cleaning helps prevent the spread of germs and bacteria that can be spread from your hands and other surfaces. The proper way to wash your hands is to scrub your hands and fingers using soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds, and make sure to use a clean and dry towel to dry your hands. In addition to washing your hands, washing surfaces and utensils with hot, soapy water is important. Lastly, make sure to wash your fruits and vegetables under cool running water and dry with a paper towel. Don’t wash meat and poultry, as it can spread bacteria.
Separating your foods is another way to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. When preparing food, make sure to use separate cutting boards for raw meat, fresh produce and ready-to-eat foods. Using the same cutting board for everything can put you and others at risk for foodborne illnesses. Another way to separate food while cooking is to use separate plates and utensils for cooked and raw foods.
Separating foods is not just for the kitchen; it’s also important when grocery shopping and storing your food. While grocery shopping, keep raw meats, poultry, eggs and seafood away from other foods by placing them in plastic bags. While at home, place raw meats, seafood and poultry on the bottom shelf of the fridge. If you do not plan to use raw meat in a few days, freeze it in freezer-safe containers.
Cooking to the proper temperatures ensures all bacteria and germs are killed. Investing in a food thermometer helps to make sure your food is at its proper temperature. To learn more about what temperatures foods should be cooked to, check out this temperature chart. Even after cooking your food to the proper temperature, it’s important to keep it at the proper temperature, too. Keeping cooked foods at 140°F after cooking helps prevent the growth of bacteria.
Lastly, reheating foods to the proper temperature, 165°F, also helps kill off bacteria and germs. When microwaving food, make sure to read the directions on packages to ensure the food is cooked thoroughly. In addition, stirring food in the middle of heating allows for even reheating.
Now that you have all the facts about food safety, you’re ready to get cooking. To learn more about food safety, visit foodsafety.gov.
4 Steps to Food Safety. FoodSafety.gov. https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep-food-safe/4-steps-to-food-safety#clean. Published December 14, 2020. Accessed June 11, 2021.