I wrote recently an article on FDA warning on Nestle cookie dough. One of the problems that have been responsible for the outbreak was that people consumed dough in raw form, which was not advised by Nestle. That does not mean that the product was safe to begin with as FDA suspected presence of E. Coli bacteria in Nestle cookie dough, but I feel it is important enough to stress that the food you eat can make you sick due to the poor handling.
I thought that I should dig up more information on handling of food to avoid food borne illness. I found useful information on FDA website and would like to summarize it for your hygiene. There are basic four rules to avoid food borne illness — Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill that FDA presents in their Fight BAC! ® national education campaign, which is designed to aware everyone about food safety.
Let us look at the tips in somewhat more details:
Bacteria can be present throughout the kitchen, including on cutting boards, utensils and counter tops. Therefore,
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap before and after handling food and especially after touching pets as they can carry various hazardous bacteria on their body surfaces or hair.
- Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot water and soap after and before preparing food items.
- Bacteria can spread from one food product to another. This is especially true for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
- Try to keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and their juices away from other foods that aren’t going to be cooked and present in your refrigerator.
Food safety experts say that foods cooked for a long enough time and at high temperature kill the harmful bacteria that cause food borne illness.
· Cook beef, veal, lamb roasts, steaks and all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 145°F to 165°F or higher temperatures according to personal preference.
· Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. Don’t eat raw or partially cooked eggs in any recipe.
10pt; color: black; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif'; mso-fareast-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-themecolor: text1;">If you are reheating food, make sure
- The food has no cold spots. Cold spots are the area where germs live. Cover the food and stir it for even cooking.
- Leftovers should be heated to 165°F. Bring sauces, soup and gravy to a boil.
The cold temperature helps slow the growth of microbes in food, whereas at room temperature, bacteria in food can double in every 20 minutes. The more bacteria, the greater the chance you could become sick.
- Keep all perishables, cooked and leftovers food in the fridge or freezer within 2 hours.
Thawing means that you let a frozen thing to melt in a natural way. Never thaw food just keeping out of the fridge or at room temperature. There are three safe ways to thaw food:
- in the fridge
- under cold running water
- in the microwave
The 2-Hour Rule
Harmful bacteria can multiply in the “Danger Zone” (between 40 and 140°F). Always keep in mind the 2-hour rule. Discard any perishable foods left at room temperature longer than 2 hours. When temperatures are above 90°F, discard food after 1 hour.
I am sure these food safety tips can minimize and prevent the risk of food contamination, if you follow them routinely. Just remember: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
For more information you can read article foodsafety.gov available on FDA site.