(NaturalNews) Sharing a meal with family and friends not only allows you to highlight your favorite dishes, but also encourages talking and bonding. In the busy world of today, few other events help bring people together more than food. Keeping those that enjoy the favorites you dish out safe requires a commitment to food safety, an issue that is not to be taken lightly.
Here below are some simple food safety rules you should follow:
1. Wash Hands Properly
While many people know they need to wash their hands, they often don't use the correct technique. It is pretty common practice for an individual to simply rinse their hands quickly under the water before drying them on whatever is handy at the moment. Instead, using warm water with liberal amounts of soap, while scrubbing for at least two minutes, will get your hands sufficiently clean. Dry them with a clean towel to avoid the possibility of contamination.
2. Defrost Foods Correctly
If you have been following in your mother's footsteps and letting meat and poultry defrost on your counter top while you are working for the day, you should know that you are giving bacteria ample ammunition to expand in numbers. Instead, defrost food safely in one of three ways: in the microwave, in the refrigerator overnight or, for small pieces of food, under running water.
3. Cook Foods Thoroughly
Though you might prefer the burgers you cook to be pleasingly pink in the middle when they are done, there is no accurate way to eyeball food and determine that it is cooked completely. The internal temperature of a hamburger should be at least 160 degrees, while a turkey burger should be 165 degrees. Using an internal meat thermometer is the only way to accurately measure this.
4. Avoid Cross Contamination
Many of the food safety issues in a kitchen can be traced to the handling of meat and poultry. Bacteria from them can easily contaminate other foods if you are not careful. When cutting meats, designate a separate cutting board and utensils that are to be used solely for that task. Clean these items thoroughly with lots of soap and water before using them to chop other foods, such as vegetables. Or simply use different cutting utensils, taking care to keep those used for meats far from other foods.
5. Handle Leftovers the Right Way
When you are finished enjoying your meal, your thoughts probably turn to relaxing. Instead, the clean up and the storage of leftovers is crucial during this time. Foods need to be kept either hot or cold, depending on the dish. After about two hours at room temperature, the multiplication of bacteria begins to kick into high gear. Cover foods with foil or remove them from the serving bowl before placing them in storage containers and storing them in the refrigerator. Be sure to dispose of leftovers after a few days.
By following a few simple rules for food safety, you can ensure your dishes are both tasty and safe to eat. These quick tips will add little to your prep time and will soon become second nature. Sources for this article include:
About the author: Sofiya has written articles on most health-related topics, including traditional medicine, alternative and naturopathic and natural treatments, wellness, medical marijuana, diets and fitness.