Did you know that about 60% of foodborne viruses can be in your kitchen right now? Your home kitchen is just as important as a restaurants kitchen in terms of food safety.
We simply miss a lot of things when we are using our kitchen at home or at work. We are either tending to a lot of customers or watching over the kids that we become unconscious of the unhealthy food practices we do that we think are somewhat harmless. But like these practices, unseen bacteria and viruses are harmless too. Here are some tips on how you can prevent having those foodborne viruses and bacteria from spreading at home and at your workplace kitchen.
1. Follow the four basic rules of food safety. If you are a regular reader of this blog, for sure you’ve read the following food safety rules a thousand times: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. But we cannot stress them enough.
Clean – Make sure that you wash your hands with warm soap and water. The same goes for your kitchen equipment (i.e. knives, chopping boards, plates, and more)—wash them with warm soapy water; better yet, immerse them in a sanitizing, anti-bacterial agent for a while before rinsing them.
Now on to the produce and meat: Fruits, veggies and meats (except for poultry) need to be washed before cooking. Don’t use any detergent or cleaning agents for washing foods, of course.
Separate – Raw meat and cooked meat should be separated. This means everything you used to handle and prepare raw meat—like the knives and cutting board—should not be used with cooked meat. Doing so prevents cross-contamination, thus keeping your food safe.
Cook – There are several recommended temperatures for different meat. Make sure you follow the ones by the FDA or Foodsafety.gov and use a food thermometer to check the meat’s internal temperature.
Chill – Don’t leave food for more than two hours at room temperature. Put food in the fridge, even right after cooking. To prevent contamination with other foods in the fridge, put food in a lidded container or store them in tightly-sealed plastic bag.
[Know more about reheating, thawing and freezing foods with this article.]
2. Monitor the expiration dates of the food you store in the fridge or cupboard. Check the food in your fridge and your cabinets if they have expired or not. Make sure you know when to throw out food and when not to. You don’t want to waste your dollars and also have a foodborne illnesses risk. If you’re a very organized individual, you might as well have a list containing the expiration dates of the foods you have in storage posted on the fridge so that everyone in your family can be aware of when the food has gone or will be going bad.
3. Do a regular inspection. If it’s a commercial kitchen, it is recommended to have a regular inspection. If you are a manager, check if all the employees follow the basic food safety methods. If you are an employee, talk to your manager about your suggestions on food safety. The same goes at home: make everyone aware of how to keep your environment food-safe.
Remember to follow these steps and make it your daily habit. Don’t let yourself be among those who were too late to know these tips.