Family Health

Four Ways to Improve Food Safety at Home

Apr 6 • 2015

World Health Day is April 7th, and this year’s theme is food safety. Did you know that food safety is linked to the deaths of an estimated 2 million people every year? Food can contain harmful bacteria, parasites, chemical substances, and viruses that can cause more than 200 diseases. When preparing food at home for your family, keep these four simple food safety tips in mind:

  1. Before you begin cooking, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap. If you’re using produce in the meal, wash it under running water first. Be sure that any cutting boards, dishes, and cooking utensils are washed after every use with hot, soapy water and wipe down any countertops or other surfaces you may use to prep.
  2. Avoid cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is one of the biggest ways that bacteria are spread. It is important to keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separated from any foods that are ready to eat. Additionally, keep cooked food off of any surface that touched raw meat, seafood, eggs, or poultry earlier. These items can also drip juices in the fridge, so keep them apart from one another when storing.
  3. Use a food thermometer. Using a food thermometer is an important step because the internal temperature of the food needs to reach a certain point to kill bacteria that could cause food poisoning. While many people check the color and texture of an item to determine if it is done cooking, the only way to be sure is to use a thermometer. Keep food hot after cooking and always reheat leftovers thoroughly.
  4. Do not thaw or marinate food on your kitchen counter; instead, do it in the fridge. Perishable foods can grow bacteria that will make you sick if they are not kept at the right temperature. Be sure to put these items in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Pay close attention to expiration dates and get rid of anything that has expired immediately.

These four simple steps can improve food safety in your home drastically. Make sure everyone who deals with food is educated on these steps and share any tips you may have for keeping food safe in our comments section.