Basics of Safe Food Handling
Whether you are preparing food for a group of people or simply just cooking for you and your significant other, it is essential to always have proper food handling to prevent food borne illnesses. According to the CDC, 1 in 6 people get sick every year from contaminated food with about 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Food borne bacteria may cause short term symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pains. However, food borne bacteria can also cause long term health problems such as cancer and neurological disorders. Undoubtedly, food borne illnesses are serious and should be avoided by safe food handling.
Basics of Safe Food Handling
First and foremost, make sure to wash your hands before touching anything (including utensils). Also, you want to always wash your hands after touching raw ingredients such as meat and eggs
And I don’t mean washing your hands for a quick two seconds under running water.. I mean scrubbing your hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. According to the CDC, an immense amount of food borne illnesses are spread from contaminated hands. With that in mind, proper hand washing can greatly reduce the chance of food borne illnesses.
You know when you slice some chicken and then use the exact same cutting board and knife to chop up some veggies? Yeah, well that’s cross contamination. In essence, food borne bacteria from the uncooked meat is contaminating fresh veggies. Make sure to use a seperate cutting board and knife for the meats and read-to-eat foods.
Cross contamination can be such a quick slip so be aware when preparing and cooking food.
Perishable foods need to always be cooked to a safe temperature — Learn to check food internal temperature like washing hands before eating.
A food thermometer is the only way to check if the food is safely cooked
Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean the food doesn’t contain any foodburne bacteria. Relying on the color to tell if the food is safely cooked is not a rule of thumb to go by — the only way to tell if the food is safely cooked is to check the internal temperature with a food thermometer. In fact, according to research, 24% of burgers turned brown before reaching a safe internal temperature.
I personally have always stuck with instant food thermometers because of the ease of the digital thermometer; I am using Marshcone’s instant food thermometer in the photos I captured. This waterproof thermometer has a wide measuring range that varies from -122 °F to 572 °F. I like how this specific food thermometer only takes 6 seconds to give the temperature reading. I decided to compare the thermometer to an old thermometer I had to test for accuracy. After putting both of the thermometers in the cooked chicken, I found out that Marshcone’s thermometer is accurate since they both read the same temperature.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a vegetarian and do not eat meat. I made chicken breasts for my fiancé in the photos. Although, I also use a food thermometer for some of my vegetarian burgers that contains raw ingredients such as eggs and soy (which I have to make sure I cook at a safe temperature as well to avoid getting sick).
Rule of thumb: Perishable foods should always be thrown out when left out after two hours in room temperature and 1 hour in 90°F or higher. Many people may not be too wary of these claims. However, left out food is not safe to reheat because the food can form a heat-resistant toxin that heat cannot destroy.