With people around the world doing all they can to stretch their kitchen budgets in these tumultuous economic times that we live in today, it can be very tempting to take a shorter route on food safety but you may end up hospitalized or worse. Following are leading basic food safety tips that must be followed to the letter to ensure you are observing food safety and that the food you are taking is safe and healthy.
1. Cured and dried types of meats can hold and hide countless germs. To be on the safe side, you might want to microwave the meats, then let them cool down before consuming them immediately.
2. Never buy anything if you find that cooked food is displayed in the same place as raw produce.
3. Fresh fish ought to be shiny in appearance and very firm, not falling off from the fish bones. Similarly, it shouldn't have a strong 'fishy' smell.
4. When buying packaged chicken, ensure you are buying one that is pink in color, and not yellow or gray.
5. Nearly a third of the population thaw frozen meat or poultry on the kitchen counter, under hot water inside the sink, or in the oven. Always thaw frozen meat in a fridge set below 4°C.
6. Food safety is also about food preparation and not only cooking of food. Always ensure that all food is prepared in a clean and dry countertop. By the same token, ensure all pots, dishes, Tupperware, containers, wrappers, coolers, bag, and lunch boxes that will come in contact with the food that you are preparing are equally clean.
7. The safest food to carry with you on a trip are foods which are shelf-stable such as trail mix, single-serve cereals, canned food products, sandwiches, peanut butter, and thoroughly washed and cleanly wrapped veggies and fruits.
8. When observing food safety, you should also ensure you seal undercooked or raw meats tightly in an airtight plastic wrap. This way, you will prevent juices from coming in direct contact with these kinds of foods.
9. The other basic food safety tip, although often overlooked, is to never reuse a plastic grocery bag. Ensure you dispose it off immediately as it might carry the bacteria and harmful contaminants of what it had contained.
10. Food safety tips also entails obeying expiration dates on labels and packaging, particularly for packaged raw meats and poultry.
11. Be careful not to use the microwave to thaw without cleaning the platter and the insides thoroughly.
12. A sure way of cross contamination or transmitting germs is double dipping i.e. dipping a chip or vegetable in a bowl of dip or salad, biting a part of it off and then re-dipping again.
13. When shopping, always put meat at the bottom of your shopping cart or in a completely separate place to avoid contamination.
14. Leftover roasted ribs or chicken should always be reheated to 74°C before eating them.
15. When you are dining out at a bistro that smells bad or the utensils, cutlery, plates, spoons etc are dirty, just put the fork down and Run Away!