Important Facts about Food Safety
Food safety is very important for many reasons life, health, and well being. Everyone should take food safety very seriously and be on the look out for hazards and contamination. The fact is food safety is of utmost importance as there are many things that can go wrong. There are also a lot of incorrect facts floating around about food safety, so it is important to know the truth. Here are a few important things to be aware of.
1. Some People Have More Risk of Food-Borne Illness Than Others
Food poisoning can happen to anyone, but there are certain people who are more at risk than others. These include the elderly, pregnant women, young babies and children, and those with compromised immune systems and chronic illnesses. Be vigilant about food safety, but especially so when you are serving the food to anyone in these categories.
2. A Small Percent of Improvement Goes a Long Way
Approximately 48 million people get sick from food-borne illness every year. Because of this, simply cutting out 1 percent of these cases would mean that nearly 500,000 fewer people would become sick each year. Although thankfully less common than sickness, death can be another result of food poisoning. This means that reducing the amount of food poisoning cases would reduce the amount of deaths caused by it as well.
3. Washing Hands Is Essential
Many people assume that food-borne illness is caused only when something is wrong with the food. In fact, a large amount of these illnesses are caused by individuals involved in the preparation of the food who did not wash their hands properly, if at all.
If everyone who handled food would wash their hands properly, a large amount of food poisoning cases would cease to exist. Washing hands before food preparation is important so that germs do not spread to the food to be eaten, but washing hands after food preparation is also important in order to prevent bacteria from the food being transferred to an individual’s mouth.
4. Wash Produce before You Peel and Cut It
It is highly important to wash your fruits and vegetables before cutting them. Harmful bacteria can lurk on the outside of the skin. By washing the produce first, it will remove the bacteria before it gets pushed to the inside of the produce by way of a knife or another utensil.
5. Don’t Wash Raw Meat and Eggs
Many people think they are being extra careful by washing raw meat and eggs before using them. But, nothing could be further from the truth. Washing raw meat and eggs does not get rid of harmful microorganisms, and can make things worse due to splashing the microbes into sinks, onto countertops and all over surrounding food and objects.
6. There Are Many Different Kinds of Food-Borne Illnesses
There are more than 250 kinds of food-borne diseases known. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your food is safe simply because you are certain it isn’t harboring a specific kind of bacteria. There are many different pathogens that can contaminate one’s food, so it is wise to follow all safety tips when preparing it.
With all the misinformation and misunderstandings around food preparation, handling and safety, it is a good idea to educate yourself. This will help you as you make decisions about the food you cook and the way you cook it.
Food Safety Tips for Barbecues
Barbecues are a great time to get together with friends and family. The noise of loved ones, fresh air and the wonderful aroma of barbecued foods is a recipe for a great time. But with this fun comes the responsibility of knowing all of the food safety tips for barbecues.
No one wants food poisoning, and because of this you need to make sure to keep your foods properly refrigerated before and after they are barbecued.
Foods, and especially meat of any kind, needs to be kept in the refrigerator as long as possible before being cooked. Don’t let the meat marinate on the shelf, as bacteria can begin to grow under these circumstances. Play it safe and move the items in your fridge around the night before so that you have ample room to store all your various foods there on the day of the barbecue.
Keep an Eye on the Temperature
Always know the temperature on the day you are having your barbecue. Whether your meat is being brought back into the house or sitting outside, know what conditions you are working with temperature-wise.
If it is a hot day, be sure to keep the meat in the shade or indoors. Don’t ever allow food to sit in direct sunlight as it can spoil very quickly. If it is hot both indoors and out, put the most sensitive items in the fridge or in a slow cooker, with a sign directing guests where to fill their plates.
Make Only as Much as Needed
When you are cooking items such as meat, make only as much as needed, plus a little more. Although everyone loves leftover barbecue, it is much more important to keep food safety rules as first priority, and to get rid of any leftovers.
Because of this, make smaller batches of food and simply quit once everyone seems to have gotten their fill. If this means that individuals have to wait for second helpings, this is preferable to food spoiling and harming your guests. Besides, they will surely be able to find someone to chat with while waiting for their steak or burger to cook.
What Meat Can Be Eaten Pink?
There are rules of barbecue safety that must be followed if you want to have an incident-free event. Pork and chicken must always be cooked thoroughly.
When it comes to beef, there is a rule of thumb that should be followed. Any meat that has ever been exposed must be cooked. That means that when it comes to steak, you can leave the inside pink if you wish, as long as the outer edges are well-cooked. For ground beef, since all of it has been ground up and exposed at some point, it must be cooked through.
Vegetables will not need to be cooked as long as meat. For this reason, leave your vegetable skewers and other non-meat items separate from the meat. Add the vegetables to the grill near the end when the meat is almost cooked, instead of the beginning when raw juices are on the grill.
Barbecues are a good time to showcase your cooking skills. Keep it safe and learn how to make your time enjoyable and free of food poisoning episodes. Follow these rules and you will have a great time as you barbecue, leaving your food safety worries aside.
Food Safety Tips for Picnics
Picnics are an essential part of summer fun. It is always relaxing to get outdoors and enjoy your friends and family while indulging in each other’s cooking. Picnics are a great way to capitalize on fresh air and sunshine which, depending where you live, are not always available.
If you are planning a picnic, here are a few things you need to know beforehand about food safety.
How Long Is Food Safe?
Every type of food has different rules when it comes to storage and maintenance. Some foods are safe to be eaten even when sitting out for hours at a time, and even overnight. Other foods are touchy, need to be kept at a certain temperature, and risk going bad quickly when stored otherwise.
Bacteria grows the best between 40 and 140 degrees F, and if you leave food out longer than two hours you run the risk of ending up with a bad case of food poisoning. If the temperature outside is hotter than 90 degrees, food should not be out longer than one hour.
Another important thing to remember is that food that has been sitting out should never be put back in the fridge or used again, but instead should be thrown out. When deciding how long food can sit out, be sure to include the driving time it took to get to the function.
How to Prolong Food’s Shelf Life and Other Food Safety Tips
Plan ahead on how to store any kind of food you are taking to a picnic. Even if the food is normally fine in room temperature, picnics tend to expose it to more heat than normal, along with sunshine and various bugs and other contaminants.
Always take containers that have lids to be used when no one is using it, as this will help with proper heat control and assist in keeping germs out. When a food requires refrigeration, be sure to keep it either in a thermos that will keep it cool, or on ice. Be sure to take proper utensils to avoid a situation where individuals begin using their own cutlery to remove the food from the dish.
Foods to Pick
Most fruits and vegetables don’t require refrigeration. Along with the fact that they are healthy and contain numerous vitamins and minerals, this makes them a great choice for picnics. Bread may dry out a little, but tends to be fine with varying temperatures. Hard cheese lasts fairly well, as long as the sun isn’t shining directly on it.
Foods to Ditch
Some of the worst foods to take on a picnic include anything with meat, because of the dangers of it going bad. Although potato salad seems to make it to almost every picnic, it is a poor choice – not only because of the eggs, but the mayonnaise can go bad very quickly as well. Keep an eye open for any foods that contain serious health threats due to compromised storage temperature, or ingredients that do not hold up well in extreme conditions.
Picnics can be great fun, because what is better than fresh air, sunshine, exercise and some great food to indulge in with friends? Food safety, however, must always be kept at the forefront. With a little knowledge and a bit of pre-planning, you can make your next picnic both delicious and incident-free.