Food Safety: Fun until you get food poisoning.
Let’s chat about food safety!
The growers, buyers, distributors, and grocers all have standard operating procedures along with inspections, and quality control measures in place to try to ensure the safety of the products that are taken from the field and end up in the store. For the consumer, food safety starts at the grocery store and doesn’t stop until you close the kitchen for the night.
In a recent observational study the USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service watched participants prepare a meal and saw how their perception of food safety and their actual practices matched up. The participants failed 97% of the time to wash their hands when they should have. 48% of the participants cross contaminated the spice containers. 5% of participants transferred bacteria to their salads. 66% of the participants did not use a food thermometer, and when they did 45% did not cook the meat to the safe internal temp of 165F. (Read the whole research article here!)
Does anyone else use disposable gloves when handling raw meat? Using a visual reminder that you’re working with raw meat and then washing your hands before moving to the next item can help keep the cross contamination minimal. My husband and I sanitize the counter tops as we go and again at the end of every evening. We also sanitize the sink, all of the handles on the refrigerator, oven, stove, pantry door, and whatever else we may have touched such as the spice cabinet door.
Some other tips for the kitchen:
· Use a pump hand soap, or even better, an automatic motion detector soap dispenser - no need to pick it up and squeeze.
· Bacteria can grow in as little as 20 minutes when your food is in the danger zone (40-140F). Either heat the food back up to 165 or put it in the refrigerator within 2 hours. This goes for food that’s been delivered to your house too! Chinese take-out anyone?
· Throw those sponges out! Use a silicone dish scrubber that you can put in the dishwasher so that it can be sanitized.
· Switch out your kitchen knobs for handles so you can turn the water on with an arm/elbow/knuckle. (Sanitize them after regardless.)
· If using a recipe or app on your phone, turn the brightness up and don’t let it go to sleep while using it. Don’t touch your germy phone while cooking! ⠀
· Color coded cutting boards will help prevent cross contamination.