Kitchen Safety Tips
Restaurants and food manufacturers face regular and stringent
testing to ensure public safety when it comes to the foods we eat.
But would our personal kitchens and cooking habits pass
inspection? In the United States alone, it is estimated that as
many as 80 million people become sick from food-related
illnesses each year. Here are some food safety tips for the
* Wash your hands both before and after handling raw food and
again after eating. Hands should be washed in hot soapy water and
rinsed in warm.
* Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly. This not only minimizes
bacteria, but also cleans away a significant amount of
the pesticides used to protect crops from disease and
* Store staples in a cool, dry area. Make sure they are sealed.
And rotate them so older items are used first. Whole grains should
be kept refrigerated, or at least freeze them for 24 hours before
placing them in the pantry. This will kill any grain moths.
* Buy a meat thermometer and use it regularly. It's the only way
to make sure if food is cooked completely.
* Package leftovers well and use them within a few days. Clean
out your refrigerator regularly and discard any food that appears
spoiled or outdated.
* Wash utensils and cutting boards before reusing them.
* Wash or replace your kitchen cleaning cloths often.
* Resist the temptation to sample uncooked foods - even those
hard-to-resist items like raw cookie dough.
* Never leave items at room temperature. The temperature between
40F and 140F is the perfect zone for bacteria to grow rapidly.
* Let someone else do the cooking if you are ill.
* Clean your kitchen promptly. Dishes and pots left in the sink
and dirty counters breed harmful bacteria.
Current health studies say that the number of potentially
harmful bacteria in our food supply has increased fivefold since
1942. Whether our food has become more of a hazard, or whether
technology has given us a greater ability to detect these harmful
bacteria is immaterial. We are all susceptible - especially
children, pregnant women, the elderly and those whose immune
systems are compromised.