Everyday, people in the home are exposed to potentially hazardous food-related illnesses. Though food poisoning is the most well-known consequence, there are a variety of other illnesses that can be contracted. Fortunately, by following five simple steps, you can ensure food safety in your home and health.
The first step to preventing food safety hazards is to keep food preparation surfaces clean. All counters, surfaces and cooking utensils should be washed with hot soapy water after every use. Cutting boards should be replaced when they become cracked and when they start to show stains. Keep in mind that cleaning should be done before and after food preparation.
2. Safe Food Storage
It is important to store all food items in the proper container. If any food items are left at room temperature, it is essential to check them for spoilage, especially if “use by” dates have expired. Additionally, it is important to store food items in an appropriate temperature. Refrigerated items should never be stored at temperatures higher than 40°F and frozen items should not be left out for long periods of time.
When storing food items, it is important to separate raw foods, such as meat, fish and poultry, from cooked foods. The same separation should be done when preparing food. Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked food. When food is cooked, it is important to ensure that it is cooked thoroughly.
4. Washing Your Hands
Washing your hands between activities, such as moving from raw food to cooked food, is essential. Washing hands with hot, soapy water before and after preparing food will help to avoid the spread of bacteria and other germs.
Disinfecting food preparation surfaces and utensils with a diluted bleach solution can help to reduce the spread of germs. A simple solution of 1 teaspoon of bleach to 1 quart of water works well. Wipe down surfaces and utensils with the bleach solution, wait two minutes and then rinse with hot water.
Following these five steps will help you to ensure safe and healthy food in your home. Proper food safety, food storage and sanitation practices can greatly reduce the risk of food-related illnesses. By taking action and following these tips, you can achieve a safe and healthy environment.