Most food-borne illnesses that occur throughout the United States each year actually occur at home. This makes food safety and sanitation a very important aspect of keeping yourself and your family as healthy as possible when it comes to preparing and cooking foods at home. To that end, here are some things to do and some things to avoid when it comes to food safety and sanitation.
The most important aspect of food safety and sanitation is that all foods should be washed and scrubbed as thoroughly as possible before they are cut, prepared, or added to the stove or oven. These foods have traveled long distances to make it to your kitchen, and even if they are organic and were made without the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals they likely came into contact with a host of other things. This makes it essential to clean whatever you are cooking, no matter what it is.
Before you even wash the food, though, you should wash your own hands. Think about where you were last before you took the food out of the refrigerator. Then think about the last time you washed your hands … and the food safety and sanitation concerns that would arise if you did not wash them now. Make sure to scrub and clean in between your fingers, and get the fronts and backs of your hands with soap and hot water before handling any food.
When it comes to food safety and sanitation, you should avoid cross contaminating certain foods. For example, try to keep vegetables and fruits away from raw meats. Use a plastic type of cutting board whenever possible when you are preparing meats, and always wash them last so that you can avoid introducing bacteria from the meats into your fruits, vegetables, and other foods. You can use a wooden type of cutting board for everything else that you are preparing, including potatoes and other vegetables. However, you should make sure to clean the cutting board after you prepare each type of food. This is an important food safety and sanitation practice.
If you are interested in learning more about the various elements of food safety and sanitation, there are a few things you can do. You do an online search for checklists and dos and don’ts. You also can look into taking a course on the topic at your local educational institution or culinary institute if you have one nearby.