Sunday, September 13, 2015
Food safety is extremely important, as unsanitary kept products can lead to more than 200 diseases and health problems, such as food poisoning, diarrhea, viral diseases and even cancer. We aim to encourage everyone to acknowledge the importance of food safety. In this way, it can help us prevent, detect and act in response to foodborne viruses and diseases. To help you ensure that the food on your plate is safe, we offer 5 easy-to-follow food safety tips:
Recent studies have found that your kitchen is the room in your home that contains the most germs. As the hub of a household, your kitchen faces a variety of ‘germ-filled’ situations on a daily basis: from pets running around to excitable children scattering debris. Germs can rapidly spread in your kitchen if you’re not careful. To ensure that you keep your kitchen clean, wash all worktops and chopping boards before and after cooking, to avoid cross-contamination. You should also wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap before cooking, after using the toilet and both before and after touching raw food.
It is essential for food safety that you keep raw meat away from ‘ready-to-eat’ foods, such as fruit, vegetables and cooked meats. You should make sure to keep foods that are ready-to-eat away from raw ingredients, as these foods won’t be cooked before they are consumed. Once raw food has been cooked, any harmful bacteria is killed. However, if raw ingredients come into contact with ready-to-eat foods, bacteria won’t be killed.
Cooking food thoroughly will protect you and your family from any harmful bacteria and foodborne viruses. In this way, make sure that your ingredients are steaming hot all the way through before serving. For safety, ensure that poultry, sausages, burgers and pork are cooked completely, with no sign of pink meat inside. To check, use a knife to make a small cut into the centre of the meat and make sure that there is no rare meat inside and that the juices from the meat are clear.
If you are cooking steak or lamb, it is safe to serve rare. However, these meats should be cooked quickly on a high temperature to seal the outside in order to kill the bacteria on the surface.
Many of the ingredients that you use to cook with on a daily basis will need to be stored in a fridge. Refrigerating cooked foods, fresh ingredients and products with a best-before date will prevent the growth of unhealthy bacteria.
- Set the temperature of your fridge to 5 degrees celsius or below.
- When preparing food, take it out of the fridge just before use, to ensure that it is stored at a safe temperature for the longest time possible.
- If you would like to store leftovers, leave to cool at room temperature for 90 minutes before placing in the fridge and eat within two days.
- Always transfer leftover ingredients stored in cans into plastic storage containers covered with a lid.
- Store raw meat and poultry on the bottom shelf of the fridge, so that these ingredients can’t touch or drip.
It is perfectly safe to freeze meat and fish, however, to ensure food safety you should freeze it prior to the best-before date. When freezing raw ingredients you should wrap them well in a freezer bag or cling film to prevent freezer burn, which will make your product inedible.
Defrost meat and fish thoroughly before cooking. You can do this by placing frozen produce into a bowl in the fridge. As meat thaws lots of liquid will come out, therefore the bowl will stop any bacteria in the liquid spreading to other ingredients in your fridge.
You should not re-freeze raw meat or fish once it has been previously defrosted. When defrosted, food should be reheated once and eaten immediately once reheated. You are able to re-freeze cooked meat once, as long as it has had enough time to cool before being placed back into the freezer.
By following these simple tips, you can make food safety a top priority.