I’ve heard so much about contaminated food; is there anything I can do to ensure food safety for my child?
It makes sense to wonder. Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, and other potentially harmful microorganisms can cause foodborne illnesses and, in a very small number of cases, fatalities. Fortunately, a few basic guidelines for food preparation, storage, and purchase can greatly reduce the likelihood of illness in your family. Keeping your kitchen as sterile as you can also lessen your chance of contracting food poisoning. Here are ten guidelines for a secure kitchen:
Ensure that the eggs, fish, poultry, and meat are as fresh as possible. Verify the package’s date. Ask a store employee if you are unsure. Confirm that the packing has not been damaged.
As per the experts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, your refrigerator should not be heated above 40 degrees Fahrenheit to stop the growth of bacteria. Check your thermostat because studies show that many individuals leave their refrigerators overly warm. Meat, fish, poultry, and leftovers are all examples of perishable foods that should be stored in the refrigerator. As soon as possible, place all of the perishable items in the refrigerator because keeping any of them out at room temperature gives germs a chance to flourish. When identifying goods that require refrigeration after being opened, read labels carefully. Additionally, avoid keeping food that typically requires refrigeration out at room temperature for longer than two hours, such as meat, eggs, and dishes with mayonnaise. Additionally, add an hour if you’re having a picnic on a hot day (and keep mayonnaise dishes out of the sun).
Store flour, cornmeal, oats, and sugar in sealed containers in your pantry or cabinet if you think they might attract insects or rodents. Food shouldn’t be kept in cabinets with heating, drain, or water lines running through them. These can let mice and insects through. Before opening cans, wash the tops with soap and water just in case they have been contaminated by droppings.
Also, keep the meat in a plastic bag and set it at the bottom of the refrigerator (like the ones you get at the grocery store for vegetables). By doing this, meat juice won’t drip onto other foods and perhaps contaminate them.
Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap before and after handling food, especially raw meat, fish, eggs, and poultry. Wear rubber or plastic gloves and make sure to wash them as frequently as naked hands if you have a wound or infection on your hands.
Use a microwave or refrigerator to thaw it.
The safest ways to defrost food are in the refrigerator or microwave because bacteria flourish at ambient temperature. To stop bacteria from growing, you should cook food that has been microwaved and defrosted.
Thoroughly rinse fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed under running water to remove any bacteria or traces of pesticide residue that may be present in fresh produce. Apply a vegetable scrubber for more effective cleaning.
Finish the cooking.
Cook hamburgers until the juices run clear and the center is no longer red for the safest results. (It’s recommended to steer clear of giving hamburgers to kids under the age of three because E. coli can be particularly harmful to them.) It is important to cook chicken and other birds until the meat is firm and no longer pink. Additionally, avoid consuming raw eggs because they might contain Salmonella. Most infections that come from food can be avoided by cooking food to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit on the inside.
Wipe down the boards.
Cutting boards and counters may be covered in bacteria if you don’t take great care to clean them, according to studies. After each usage, wash them with soap and water. Clean them once a week with a quart of water and one tablespoon of bleach solution. Use a small amount of bleach solution whenever they come in contact with any raw meat for further protection. If you can, use two cutting boards—one for meat and the other for everything else. Cutting boards made of wood and plastic both seem to be secure, while older wood boards might be simpler to keep clean.
Use a sponge zapper.
When it comes to spreading germs, kitchen sponges may be the worst offenders. They are the ideal bacterial breeding environment since they are cozy and moist, with lots of crevices to hide in. They will also likely contain the most germs because we use them to clean practically everything in the kitchen. To be safe, sterilize your sponges by running them through the dishwasher or zapping them in the microwave for two minutes on high power, ideally once per day (Caution: Only microwave sponges that are free of metal!). Heat kills most bacteria.
When refrigerated, leftovers last three to five days before becoming unsafe to consume. Mark the date on the container before putting it in the refrigerator to help you remember how long it’s been there.