Food Safety – 6 things you should know

Food Safety

When you are looking to sell home-cooked food, food safety is very important. Below are 6 things that you should know while preparing food at home.

Clean

Wash Hands and Surfaces Often. Bacteria may be spread through the kitchen and get on hands, cutting boards, utensils, countertops, and food.

Wash your hands with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds after and before handling food and after utilizing the bathroom or changing diapers.

Wash your hands after playing with pets. Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and work surfaces with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to another meal.

Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. In case you use fabric towels wash them frequently in the hot cycle of your washing machine. 

Rinse fresh vegetables and fruits under running regular water, including those with rinds and skins that aren’t eaten.

Scrub firm peeled vegetables and fruits under running regular water or wash with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing with running tap water.

Maintain books, backpacks or shopping bags at the kitchen table or counter where food is prepared or served.

Separate

Do not Cross Contaminate. Foodborne illness is the way bacteria can be spread.

When handling raw meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, keep these foods and their juices away from ready-to-eat meals. Always start with a clean scene, wash hands with hot water and soap. 

Wash cutting boards, countertops, dishes, and utensils with hot soapy water.

Separate eggs, poultry, seafood, and raw meat from other foods in your buying groceries cart and in your refrigerator.

Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and fish.

Utilize a food thermometer, which measures the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry, and egg dishes, at ensuring that food is cooked at a safe internal temperature.

Never put cooked food on a plate which held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.

Cook

Food is cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause foodborne disease.

Utilize a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of cooked foods. Utilize a food thermometer, which measures the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry, and egg dishes, at ensuring that food is cooked at a safe internal temperature.

Cook beef roasts and steaks to a safe minimum internal temperature of 63° C. All poultry must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 74° C through the bird, as measured with a food thermometer. 

Ground meat should be cooked to 72° C. It is said that eating undercooked meat has a higher risk of disease. Remember, color isn’t a reliable indicator of doneness and is not a food safety standard of checking.

Cook eggs till the yolk and white are firm, not runny. Do not use recipes wherein eggs remain raw or only partially cooked. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs must be cooked in 72° C.

Fish should be cooked to 63° C or until the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork. Make certain there are no cold spots in the food when cooking in a microwave oven.

For optimum results, cover the foods, shake and rotate for even cooking.

When there’s no turntable, rotate the dish by hand once or twice during cooking. Bring sauces, soups and gravy to a boil when reheating. 

Keeping food safety in mind, heat other leftovers thoroughly to 74° C. Use microwave oven safe cooking and plastic wrap while cooking meals in a microwave oven.

Chill

Refrigerate Promptly. Refrigerate foods rapidly since cold temperatures slow down the growth of damaging bacteria. Don’t overstuff the refrigerator.

Cold air must circulate to help keep food safe. Maintaining a constant refrigerator temperature of 5° C or below is one of the very best techniques to reduce the possibility of foodborne illness.

Use a thermometer to be sure the temperature is consistently 5° C or below. The freezer temperature must be 0°, F or below. 

Refrigerate or freeze eggs, poultry, meat, along with other perishables as soon as you receive them home from the store.

Never allow raw meat, poultry, eggs, cooked food, or cut fruits or veggies sit at room average temperature over 2 hours before placing them in the fridge or freezer.

Never thaw foods at room temperature. Food has to be kept at a safe temperature during thawing.

There are 3 safe ways to defrost food: in the fridge, in cold water, and in the microwave oven utilizing the defrost setting.

Foods thawed in cold water or in the microwave oven should be cooked immediately. 

Always marinate food in the refrigerator. Divide considerable quantities of leftovers in shallow containers for faster cooling in the refrigerator.

Use or discard food that is aerated on a regular basis.

Cold food

Prepare cooked food, like poultry, ham, poultry, and vegetable or pasta salads, in advance to allow thorough cooling in the refrigerator.

Divide considerable quantities of food in shallow containers for fast chilling and easier use.

Keep cooked food refrigerated until time for delivery.

To keep lunches cold away from home, include a small frozen gel pack or frozen fruit juice.

If there is a fridge available, store perishable items there upon arrival. 

Soft-sided lunch boxes or bags are best for keeping food cold, but plastic or metal lunch boxes and paper bags may also be utilized.

If using paper lunch bags, create layers by double bagging to help insulate the food. Some food is secure without a source.

Things that do not require refrigeration include whole vegetables and fruits, hard cheese, unopened canned fish and meat, chips, bread, crackers, peanut butter, jelly & mustard.

Hot Food

Use an insulated container to keep food hot.

Fill the container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, empty, and then put in the piping hot food.

Keep the insulated container closed to keep the food hot.

For more information on food safety, visit the FSSAI website.

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