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Guidelines For The Safe Handling, Cooking And Storage Of Food

Guidelines For Safe Food Preparation

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Wash your hands.

  • Always, always, wash your hands (gloved or not) with soap and water before preparing food and after handling raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs. 
  • It is particularly important to wash your hands after:
    • Touching pets or other animals.
    • Using the bathroom.
    • Changing diapers.
    • Blowing your nose.

Keep shelves, counter tops, refrigerators, utensils, sponges, towels, cutting boards and other equipment clean and sanitized.

  • Clean the sink with products meant for kitchen surfaces that are fortified with bleach which kills bacteria. An inexpensive way to do this is to use one teaspoon of liquid bleach per quart of water. Be sure to allow the solution time to work.
  • Consider using a cloth dish towel in place of a kitchen sponge which can act as a magnet for bacteria. Ideally, maintain sanitation by washing your dish towel in hot water in a washing machine after each use.
  • If you use a sponge, it should be washed in the dishwaher or washing machine at least every few days.

Use different cutting boards for raw meat and poultry.

  • Do not use a wooden cutting board for preparing any type of raw meat unless it is used exclusively for raw meat and/or poultry. A plastic cutting board may be easier to wash and sanitize.
  • All cutting boards need to be washed with hot, soapy water after each use, then rinsed and air dried or patted dry with fresh paper towels.
  • Cutting boards can also be sanitized with a solution of one teaspoon liquid chlorine bleach per quart of water. Flood the surface with the solution and allow it to stand for several minutes. Then rinse and air dry or pat dry with fresh paper towels.
  • After preparing raw food, mop up spills with paper towels, clean kitchen surfaces with hot soapy water, and wash your hands.

Don't let juices come in contact with other foods.

  • Do not let juices from raw meat, poultry or seafood come in contact with cooked foods or foods that will be eaten raw, such as fruits or salad ingredients.
  • Use different dishes and utensils for raw food than you use for cooked food to prevent cross contamination.

Don't thaw or marinate foods on the counter.

  • Never thaw food on the counter.
    • Food should be thawed in the refrigerator.
    • It is also safe to thaw food in cold water in an airtight plastic wrapper or bag, changing the water every 30 minutes until thawed.
    • Food can also be thawed in a microwave, but should be cooked immediately after thawing.
    • Never marinate foods on the counter. Food should always be marinated in the refrigerator.

Thoroughly wash fresh fruits and vegetables before eating them.

One way to remove pesticides, bacteria and wax from produce with a skin (such as apples and carrots):

  • Spray with a solution made up of three parts water (from the tap) and one part distilled white vinegar.
  • Then rinse under cold running water. 

Remove dirt with a scrub brush or by rubbing with your hands.

Sterlize kitchen sponges.

Kitchen sponges can end up with an incredible amount of bacteria such as E. Coli and salmonella. To sterlize a kitchen sponge, saturate it with water and mmicrowave it for two minutes. According to a recent study, it will kill 99% of the bacteria.

Don't place objects such a pocket book on the kitchen counter. They are likely to have bacteria on them which would be transferred to the counter top.

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