As a homeowner, you may be tempted to take shortcuts or skip certain safety steps when storing or preparing food to save time—but that’s dangerous and irresponsible! It’s easy to get yourself into trouble if you don’t follow some basic rules while cooking or handling food at home:
Wash hands often
When you wash your hands, use warm water and soap and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Wash your hands before and after handling food. Also, wash them after using the bathroom, changing nappies, handling pets or rubbish or recycling materials that could have touched raw meat or eggs.
Gloves should be worn when handling raw meat or eggs to avoid cross-contamination of bacteria from surfaces such as cutting boards. If you’re wearing gloves while preparing food, make sure to use a different towel from the one used for drying hands so as not to transfer germs from hands onto kitchen towels which are then used again in other parts of the kitchen (such as on dishes).
Don’t use the same cutting board for raw meat and vegetables. When you cut your meat, don’t put it back on the same surface as your veggies—the residue from uncooked meat can contaminate food that’s to be eaten raw (or cooked).
Don’t use the same plate or utensil for raw meat and cooked meat. If you’re cooking with a family member who won’t eat certain foods because of his or her beliefs, keep separate plates in the cupboard so there are no cross-contamination problems when it comes time to eat dinner together.
Cook meat thoroughly
Cook meat to at least 75 degrees celsius to kill harmful bacteria and ensure it’s safe for consumption. At this temperature, even thicker cuts of meat like beef brisket or pork shoulder will be safe to eat.
Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your cooked meat. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the food—usually in its centre—and wait for about three minutes for it to register. If you’re eating pork or minced beef that’s browned on the outside but pink in the middle, return it briefly for additional cooking time so that no part remains undercooked.
If you’re using an instant-read thermometer instead of an inserted probe type, make sure not to touch bone when testing doneness since bones can retain heat even after being removed from heat sources such as grills or ovens; instead, probe deeply into thickest parts away from bone ends so as not give false readings based solely on proximity
Keep your kitchen clean
As you are in the process of preparing your food, make sure to clean as you go. When cooking, make sure to wash your hands before and after preparing food. Wash your hands for two minutes with soap and hot water before handling food. This will help prevent cross-contamination from other foods or surfaces that may have bacteria on them.
When washing dishes, use washing up liquid in cold water and rinse off all soap residue thoroughly. Also, make sure to sanitise cutting boards with a diluted bleach solution and utensils dipped into a solution of dishwashing liquid mixed with warm water.
Keep food at safe temperatures
You can keep food at safe temperatures in the fridge, freezer and on countertop. Use the guidelines below to keep your food at a safe temperature when storing it:
• Refrigerator: Keep foods at 4 degrees celsius or lower. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer. If it doesn’t measure at 4 degrees or less, unplug it until you can repair or replace it immediately.
• Freezer: Leave food in its original packaging until you’re ready to use it so that you don’t need to thaw more than what you’ll be using at one time. If there’s no room left in your freezer for an opened package of chicken breasts, wrap each piece with wax paper or place them inside a resealable plastic bag before placing them back inside the original packaging for storage purposes—you never know when an unexpected dinner guest might pop over!
Keeping food safe is a lot of work, but it’s also an important part of staying healthy. If you’re not sure how to handle certain types of food or if something has gone bad in your fridge, then ask someone who knows what they’re doing. Your local grocer is always a great resource when in doubt!