kitchen food safety tips

Contaminated food is the worst. 

These kitchen food safety tips for defrosting dinner, avoiding cross contamination while preparing foods, cooking entrees throughly, and eating hot foods while they're hot will help ensure there won't be any food-related tummy aches in your home.

Kitchen Food Safety Tips for Preparing Dinner

While most pathogens that occur naturally in uncooked foods are killed by proper cooking to the following internal temperatures:

  • Beef, veal lamb (steaks and roasts): 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees C)
  • Fish: 140 degrees F (60 degrees C)
  • Ground beef: 160 degrees F (83 degrees C)
  • Poultry: 180 degrees F (83 degrees C)
  • Pork: 160 degrees F (72 degrees C)

Many germs can spread long before you pop the entree in the oven. E coli, hepatitis A, and salmonella - the most common contaminants - can find their way onto a sponge or dishcloth; and you in turn, can then spread the bacteria all over your kitchen unless you make an effort to stop them.

The single most important thing you can do to ensure your family's health and safety is to wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing food.

This will prevent you from spreading meat-, poultry, or fish-borne bacteria onto refrigerator doors, cabinet handles, and countertops, where they'll be lying in wait next time you reach for a leftover slice of pizza.

prevent Cross-Contamination

In addition to washing your hands, you can help prevent cross-contamination by washing in hot, soapy water the utensils used to prepare raw food. That includes all knives, cutting boards, and  serving platters that have held raw meats, fish, or poultry.

When grilling, don't serve meat on the same platter you used to carry it outside before cooking.

If your kitchen counter comes in contact with even a drop of juice from uncooked meat, poultry, or fish, clean the area with hot, soapy water and paper towels - not the sponge you use daily.

To kill all the germs, however, you'll need to clean the surface with a mild bleach solution (one part bleach to nine parts water) or use a commercial disinfectant such as Lysol Antibacterial Kitchen Cleaner Spray.

Keep all kitchen surfaces dry; bacteria survive no more than a few hours when moisture is eliminated.

Kiitchen sponges and dishcloths - the very items that are supposed to help you get rid of lurking germs - can be part of the problem unless you clean them regularly. You should replace your sponges every two weeks. Regularly throw dishcloths in the washing machine - and always use hot water and bleach.

Always Eat Food While It's Hot

Always eat food while it's hot, and refrigerate leftovers promptly. 

Prepared or cut food, including fruit, should not sit unrefrigerated for more than two hours in cool weather, one hour when it's warm. If the food item has been left out, toss it. 

Resist the urge to taste-test if you're unsure about something - even a small amount of contaminated food can make you very ill.

Put dates on leftovers in the fridge so that you can use them within a safe period. Determining a food's safety by odor or appearance is risky; spoilage isn't always obvious.

Finally, wash produce before you eat or cook it, to remove surface germs. That way you won't contaminate other surfaces after touching these foods.

› 4 Kitchen Food Safety Tips