People in the food industry are very particular about safe practices when handling food. The same hygienic practices should also be applied in the home setting as we prepare food for family members. Failure to exercise food-handling safety could result in the spread of foodborne diseases that may cause illnesses or food poisoning.
Most cases of food poisoning are the results of cross-contamination. This occurs when you use kitchen tools (or your hands) when working with one type of food, then move to another type of food without washing your hands or kitchen tools.
Here are a few ideas for ensuring food safety at home:
Wear an apron
An apron provides a barrier between you and bacteria or food splatters. Always use a fresh apron each time you start a food preparation project. Make sure to wash your apron immediately after cooking.
Take off your apron and leave it in the kitchen when you have to go to the bathroom. Otherwise, it could pick up bacteria that could be transferred to the food you are handling in the kitchen.
Have cleansing materials handy
Every time you cook food, make sure that you have these things at the ready: flowing water, a cleansing agent, and a disposable towel. Wash your hands before and after you handle raw foods. Wash any affected tools (knives, spoons, etc.) and cutting boards as well.
Beware of infections or wounds
Do not handle food when you have an infection or an open wound. The bacteria from your body might spread to the food that you are working with. If you have a small cut and still need to cook, you can cover it with a bandage and wear a latex glove over it.
Do not wear jewelry or a watch while cooking. They may carry bacteria that could transfer to your ingredients. Designate a safe place to set your jewelry while you are preparing food so you will always know where to find it after you cook.
Use clean cutting boards
Plan to use different cutting surfaces as you prepare food. If you prepare raw meat on one board, use another one to chop veggies. Otherwise, you could cross-contaminate your ingredients.
Note expiration dates
Don’t use foods that have outlived their shelf life.
Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in the kitchen can help ensure better health for you and your family.