Food safety is more than just washing our fruits and vegetables before we eat them. If we are not careful, bacteria can take up residence in not just our fruits and vegetables, but in our canned goods and kitchens as well. It is important to understand how to fight against all those pesky bacteria that can cause food borne illnesses.
Q: How do I practice food safety in my own kitchen?
A: Keeping your kitchen safe from germs and bacteria is a simple job. Wash your counter tops and sinks with soapy water or disinfectant before and after you use them to prepare foods, especially raw meat. The juices can leave behind bacteria that can cause food borne illnesses. It’s also best when handling raw meat to use paper towel instead of cloth towels; this way the paper towel can be tossed afterword. This will ensure that the dirty cloth doesn’t get used to wipe down the counter, sink or another piece of food.
Q: How do I practice food safety when grocery shopping?
A: Safe food shopping is the process of buying your cold and frozen foods last and getting them home fast.
Start shopping in the non-perishable aisles first and then move to the fresh produce, diary, meat and frozen foods last; and don’t forget to leave a space in your cart for meat, so it won’t be on top of your other foods. Last but not least, when buying canned goods, be sure to choose cans that are not dented or bulging. The dents and bulges can harbor bacteria.
Q: How do I practice food safety at a picnic?
A: Keeping your food safe at a picnic is easy if you remember the three C’s. Keep your food Clean, Cold and Covered. Be sure to cover raw meats when transporting them, this way the juices don’t drip on other foods in the cooler. Keep raw foods separate from the ready to eat with foods along with their serving utensils. Cross contamination is a very good way to spread bacteria. Keep as many food items on ice and in coolers as much as possible. Leaving foods out in temperatures over 90 degrees for longer than 1 hour provides breeding ground for bacteria.
Q: How do I practice food safety while dining out?
A: Be sure the restaurant you are dining as is up to code with food safety. Examine your plate to make sure there are no cracks in the glass or plastic and the dishes and utensils are clean. Cracks in dishes can hide harmful bacteria in them.
How’s My Food Safety Score?
For every yes answer, give yourself 1 point.
- I always wash my hands with soap and warm water or use a sanitizing towel or liquid cleanser before eating or handling food.
- I get my perishable food into the refrigerator within 30 minutes after shopping, especially in hot weather.
- I put frozen or refrigerated foods in my grocery cart just before I check out of the store.