How To Be Food Safe In The Kitchen
Whether you are preparing food for yourself, your family, or in a commercial kitchen, following proper food safety principles is essential for good health. To mark Australian Food Safety Week (14-21 November 2020), let’s dive in to what food safety really is and the ways we can ensure we are food safe in the kitchen.
What is food safety?
Food Safety refers to handling, preparing and storing food in a way to best reduce the risk individuals becoming sick from foodborne illnesses. Food safety standards are set by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (or FSANZ, for short), and must be followed by all restaurants, cafes, and manufacturers. Don’t forget the home kitchen – food safety is just as important in the heart of the home.
It’s important to remember that food safety is for all the foods we eat – from fresh produce and raw meats, to packaged biscuits and cereals. This is because there are many ways food can become harmful to our health, and often this is invisible to our eye. Food can carry bacteria on it’s surface from when it was grown or processed, and if not cooked or stored correctly, this bacteria can grow and be dangerous for our health.
Salmonella is one such example of a dangerous bacteria. Salmonella can be found in raw eggs, poultry and raw meat, and even some fresh produce (commonly imported) that has been processed or washed with water contaminated with salmonella. Food needs to be thoroughly cooked and stored properly to kill the bacteria and prevent food poisoning.
So, what can I do to improve food safety in the home?
- Maintaining a high level of personal hygiene, especially hand-washing regularly
- Clean reusable grocery bags regularly. Wash canvas and cloth bags in the washing machine and wash plastic reusable bags with hot, soapy water.
- Store raw seafood, meat, poultry, and dairy products in your refrigerator.
- Rinse fresh vegetables and fruits under running water just before eating, cutting, or cooking.
- Always use a clean cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw seafood, meat, and poultry.
- Always use a clean plate to serve and eat food.
- Never place cooked food back on the same plate or cutting board that previously held raw food.
- Discard cooked leftovers after 4 days; raw poultry and ground meats, 1 to 2 days.
- Discard any food after their “use-by date”
- Make sure to keep any pantry items sealed to prevent pests
- Clean all cooking equipment, benches and utensils with warm water and detergent after use and allow to dry properly before putting away
- Keep foods at safe temperatures – keep cold food less than 5oC and hot food greater than 60oC, and do not leave food between this temperature range for more than 2 hours,
- Food safety is different for every food – get familiar with the guide for different foods