Here are some steps we can all take to ensure our homes are food safe:
- Cleanliness is key: wash your hands thoroughly before cooking, during cooking and after cooking, especially when switching between handling different foods. Wash with soap and water for 20 seconds — that’s 2 choruses of ‘Happy Birthday’.
- Wash fruit and veggies, but not meat and poultry. Be sure to wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly in cool drinkable water, including those you peel or cut like melons, oranges, and cucumbers. Do not wash meats and poultry, this spreads raw meat juices to other surfaces in your kitchen – something you want to avoid.
- Keep things cool: don’t bring meats up to room temperature before grilling or thaw at room temperature. This is a common ‘cooking show’ recommendation that really has no benefits and is loaded with the risk of promoting the growth of harmful bacteria. Keep foods chilled in the fridge at 4◦C until ready to cook – and that includes marinating too.
- Cook meats and poultry to proper safe temperature using a food thermometer to take measure doneness. Cooking by colour is not a reliable way to know when meats are done. Use a digital instant read food thermometer to test for doneness. It’s a simple step that gives you the assurance that your meat has reached a high enough internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. Use this handy chart to know when foods are cooked properly.
- Use different cooking utensils when switching between cooked and raw foods OR wash thoroughly when you do the switch. When you use the barbecue tongs for flipping steaks, burgers, chicken, kabobs etc during cooking, be sure to wash them up before using them to take foods off the grill to serve. Or better yet, have 2 pairs of tongs – 1 for raw and 1 for cooked. The same goes for cutting boards and lifters!
For more information and tips on how to keep your home food-safe, visit www.befoodsafe.ca
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