Every year, more than 4 million Canadians get food poisoning. Did you know that you cannot tell if food is unsafe by its smell or taste? When it doubt, throw it out. Here are some kitchen safety tips to keep in mind when in the kitchen.
In the kitchen
- Wash your hands with warm soapy water. Washing your hands is especially important before and after handling raw meat, poultry, and fish.
- Separate your cutting boards. Use one for produce and another for raw meats.
- Use paper towel to wipe kitchen surfaces. If using a cloth change daily to avoid cross-contamination. Avoid using sponges, as they are harder to keep bacteria-free.
- Sanitize countertops, cutting boards and utensils before and after preparing food.
- Wash your reusable grocery bags frequently.
- Wash your fruit and vegetables with water before use.
- Do not use soap on your produce.
- Wash your produce under running water instead of soaking it in the sink. Bacteria in the sink can be transferred to your food.
Chilling & Thawing
- Keep cold food cold and hot food hot so your food never reaches the danger zone. This is where bacteria can grow and cause food poisoning. The danger zone is considered between 4° C to 60° C
- Set your fridge at 4° C and your freezer at -18° C
- Keep you raw meat, poultry and fish cold.
- Store washed, cut fruit and sliced vegetables in the refrigerator.
- Cook raw meat, poultry and fish with in 3 days or purchasing. If you do not intend on cooking with in this time it should be frozen.
- The safest way to thaw food is in the refrigerator. You can also use the microwave or using cold water.
- Bacteria such as E. Coli, Salmonella and Listeria are killed by heat. Cooking food properly is the best way to make sure it is safe to eat.
- Cook food completely. Use a thermometer to measure the temperature.
- Check by testing the thickest part of the meat, poultry or fish because it could be cooked unevenly.
- When testing the temperature on a hamburger, insert the thermometer through the side of the patty, all the way to the middle.
- Be sure that uncooked foods don’t come into contact with cooked foods.
- Colour does not always tell you if your food is safe to eat. Always follow internal cooking temperatures to be safe.