Food safety: Preparation and cooking

The kitchen where food is prepared is known to contain the highest concentration of germs in the house. Microorganisms such as campylobacter, E. coli and salmonella can quickly spread in the kitchen via our hands, pets and raw food if not careful. In case food is not cooked, handled or stored properly, family members are at risk for food poisoning, flu, common cold and other health issues.

Regular hand washing

Hands are one of the main methods how germs spread, thus it is vital to wash thoroughly using warm water and soap before cooking, after touching the trash bin, after using the toilet and before and after handling raw food.

Raw meat as well as poultry might include detrimental bacteria that might readily spread on anything it is exposed to such as tables, other food, counters, knives and chopping boards.

Make sure that raw food should be kept away from ready-to-eat foods such as salad, fruit and bread. These foods will not be cooked before being eaten, thus any germs that get on them will not be killed. It is recommended to use a different chopping board for ready-to-eat foods and raw foods. When storing raw meat, store in a sealed, clean container and place in the bottom shelf where it cannot drip on or touch other foods.

Cooking

Cooking using the right temperature will ensure that any bacteria are eliminated. Make sure that the food is piping hot thoroughly before it is eaten. Foods that should be thoroughly cooked before eating include the following:

  • Pork
    Food safety

    Peeling or cooking vegetables and fruits can also remove the germs.

  • Poultry
  • Sausages
  • Organ meats including liver
  • Burgers
  • Kebabs
  • Rolled joints of meat

When cooking food that is not going to be eaten after, it should be cooled at room temperature and stored in the fridge. Storing hot food in the refrigerator will not allow it to cool evenly which can cause food poisoning.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables must be washed under cold running water before eaten. This will eliminate any visible dirt and germs that might be present on the surface. Peeling or cooking vegetables and fruits can also remove the germs.

Do not use any cleaning liquid or household cleaning products while washing since they might not be safe and even leave accidentally behind some of the product.

Cleaning up

Always wash all chopping boards and counters before and after cooking since they can be a source of cross-contamination. Moist or damp cloths and sponges are the ideal breeding place for bacteria. Based on studies conducted, the sponge used in the kitchen harbors the highest number of microorganisms in the house. With this in mind, it is vital to wash and replace regularly all sponges, clothes and tea towels used in the kitchen.

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