Food poisoning is typically caused by contaminated food products. Such illnesses can be caused by bacteria or viruses, parasites or toxins. These can be brought into your home through many different products. Thorough cooking should deal with bacteria, but not toxins. Appropriate steps need to be taken to receive proper medical diagnosis and treatment in all such circumstances.
However, in other areas, effective preventative actions offer vital steps to take. People often fall ill because of simple errors made during the preparation or storing of food. Here are some simple tips to help avoid the unnecessary distress that this can cause…
Be a careful washer
Let’s start with your hands – an area that the pandemic has certainly focused attention on. Before starting food preparation, a thorough wash with soap and water is a vital starting point. But, this also needs to be remembered at various stages throughout the preparation process. Here are some key moments to remember this routine – wash your hands again after…
+ handling raw foods such as meat, fish, eggs and vegetables
+ touching your food waste or other refuse bin
+ personal hygiene activities, from blowing your nose to going to the toilet
+ petting, or shooing away, eager (where food is around) pets such as cats or dogs
Cuts and other minor injuries are commonplace in many home kitchens. Make sure you have waterproof plasters ready for immediate use. If you are suffering from a skin infection then it’s best to let others undertake any food preparation activities.
Moving on from the preparer to the preparation area. Worktops should be washed both before and after food preparation. This again is particularly important when moving across different uncooked food groups. Equally, some veggies might be served raw. Here it is even more vital that surfaces are washed between preparing them after working with raw meat products.
It’s a wise step to take to use separate chopping boards for cooked and raw food work. Remember also that germs can spread easily across all the different implements you might use when both preparing food and then cooking it. Again, using different utensils for raw or cooked food prep is a good idea.
It’s also important to wash tea towels and dish cloths on a frequent basis. Make sure you then let them dry thoroughly before re-use. Damp cloths are prime breeding grounds for germs.
Finally, and we’ve mentioned this before in our blogs, don’t wash raw chicken. It simply gives bacteria a way to move around and increase the possibilities of serious contamination.
Using your fridge effectively
Make sure your fridge’s temperature is maintained at a level suggested by the manufacturer’s guidelines. Aim to keep raw meat properly covered and separate from anything that is ready to take out and eat. Also, a wise step is to place raw meat separately on the bottom shelf where it isn’t able to drip onto other foodstuffs – or even touch them.
Where there are leftovers from any meal, aim to cool these as quickly as possible. If kept in the fridge, use them within a reasonably short time frame.
This is vital to ensure that any bugs are killed off. Under-cooked foods can be every bit as dangerous as totally uncooked. A cooking thermometer is a wise investment. Use by inserting it into the centre, or thickest area, of whatever you are cooking.
Particular attention should be paid to ground meat products as they often have more opportunity for contamination than whole cuts. When previously-cooked foods are being reheated, again it’s vital to ensure they are completely cooked through. If frozen, make sure they are completely thawed in the fridge. Don’t leave them out to do so at room temperature. Apart from anything else, it means they might inadvertently come into contact with raw or cooked foodstuffs.
The acknowledged experts in food safety
Much of the above information could be called simple common sense. But, in the hustle of modern life, it’s so easy to skip over some basic actions, so it’s good to be reminded of steps to take to keep good food health.
However, you may be keen to gain professional expertise in the key areas of food handling and safety or to gain a vital industry accreditation. Then the wise choice is to choose the Australian Institute of Accreditation.
We are our country’s acknowledged leader in the provision of accredited online certificate courses. We are proud of the reputation we have earned and the levels of positive feedback offered by those making use of our facilities. To find out more, please talk to our expert team by calling 1300 662 750…