Food Safety Advice: 10 Ways to Prevent Food Poisoning
Illustration Every year, there are millions of food poisoning cases. While most are mild, it's something no one wants to suffer from. By following the tips below, you help ensure the food you feed your family and friends won't...
Every year, there are millions of food poisoning cases. While most are mild, it's something no one wants to suffer from. By following the tips below, you help ensure the food you feed your family and friends won't make them sick.
Wash Your Hands
Washing you hands is a simple way to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses. You should always wash your hands with warm soap and water:
- Before preparing food
- After handling raw meat
- After using the toilet or changing a baby's diaper
- After touching your pets or cleaning up after them
Wash Kitchen Items
Always use hot, soapy water to clean a cutting board, countertops, and utensils. If you cannot use a different cutting board for raw foods and ready-to-eat foods, be sure to wash it in between preparing the different types. Wash all dishcloths and tea towels after each use, and allow them to dry before using again. Damp or dirty cloths or towels are breeding grounds for germs.
It's important to wash all produce before eating, even the rinds. Even though you're going to toss them in the trash, washing is a must so the knife won't spread exterior germs when cutting into the fruit.
Cook Food Thoroughly
To kill any bacteria that may be present, it's important to cook food thoroughly. The best way to determine if the proper temperature has been reached is to use a food thermometer. Keep in mind that ground beef should be cooked to 160 degrees F (71.1 C), roasts, steaks, and chops such as lamb and pork to 145 degrees F (62.8 C), and chicken and turkey to 165 degrees F (73.9 C). Don't wash raw meat or poultry prior to cooking because this increases the risk of spreading bacteria throughout your kitchen.
Refrigerate or Freeze Perishable Foods
Always refrigerate or freeze perishable foods within two hours of buying. If the room temperature is 90 degrees F (32.2 C) or higher, the perishable foods must be refrigerated or placed in the freezer within one hour.
Quickly Cool Leftovers
If you have leftover food from your meal, cool it within ninety minutes and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Consume the leftovers in the fridge within two days.
Store Raw Foods and Those Ready-to-Eat Separately
Whether in a shopping cart or in your refrigerator, it is best to keep raw poultry, meat, fish, and shellfish from ready-to-eat foods such as bread and fruit. This is because ready-to-eat foods aren't cooked before eating, so any bacteria that gets on them will not be killed. It's best to store raw meat and poultry in containers and place on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator where they cannot drip onto other foods.
You should never thaw food at room temperature. Instead, safely defrost it in the refrigerator. When microwaving frozen food using the "defrost" or "50 percent" power setting, the food must be immediately cooked.
Check "use by" Dates
These dates are based on scientific testing that shows how fast harmful bugs can develop in food that's packaged.
Use Small Bowls
If you're hosting a party and have items such as potato salad and macaroni salad on your menu, it's better to dish them into smaller serving bowls while the rest chills in the refrigerator. When it's time to add more to your buffet table, replace the bowls at the same time.
High-risk Groups for Food Poisoning
While anyone can get food poisoning, some people are at a higher risk than others:
- People with a chronic illness
- Pregnant women
- The elderly
- Young children