Food safety is essential to maintaining good health. If foods are not handled properly or if food prep utensils are not washing properly, you can get very ill. Even large companies use consulting companies to deal with food safety. Here are some top tips for food safety.
1. Wash your hands
Easily the most important rule in food safety is to wash your hands before handling food. As we live our lives and touch the many different things we interact with, bacteria can easily make its way onto our hands. Washing them eliminates the possibility that the bacteria is spread onto food.
2. Do not thaw food on the counter
When thawing frozen foods, never leave it on the counter to defrost. This might seem like a convenient way to defrost food, but that puts the food at risk of being contaminated. Using the fridge is the best way to thaw out foods, but you can also put them under cool water or use the microwave. Any of those ways are better than leaving food on the counter where bacteria can easily multiply on the food.
3. Handle cutting boards properly
Never use the same cutting board to cut multiple different types of foods. Raw meats are especially dangerous when re-using the cutting board, as the bacteria from uncooked meats can contaminate other foods. Rather than re-using the cutting board, you can use a different cutting board for each type of food, or you can wash the cutting board and re-use it. Make sure to wash it with hot soapy water to eliminate all bacteria.
4. Two-hour rule
Whenever you are handling prepared food or leftovers, make sure to refrigerate them within two hours. Leaving food out for longer than two hours increases the possibility that bacteria will infect the food. Wrap the food up and put it in the fridge or freezer. Place the food on the lowest rack, so that if there is any leakage, it doesn’t contaminate other foods. Also, make sure to heat the food up properly when eating it again.
5. Cook food to proper temperatures
Whenever cooking food, especially meats, you need to make sure that they are cooked to the proper temperatures. Use a thermometer to check the temperature and follow these rules for minimum internal temperatures: Beef, veal, and lamb – 145°F. Pork – 160°F. Ground meat – 160°F. Poultry – 165°F. Egg – 165°F. Seefood – 158°F. Most game meat – 165°F.