How to Avoid Food Poisoning
If you’re a cook or restaurant owner, I’m sure you don’t want your guests or customers to get food poisoning after eating your food. Don’t worry, there are some ways in which you can easily prevent it.
As a matter of fact, common sense is going to be your best guide. I’ve enlisted and discussed some of the many tips for those who want to know how to avoid food poisoning while preparing foods.
These are a few tips to ensure cleanliness and to avoid cross-contamination, the leading cause of food poisoning.
Wash your hands:
Yes, it is as simple as washing your hands. Especially while grilling, or cooking with raw meat regularly, you don't want to touch raw poultry, and then handle raw beef.
It is not only a common way to contaminate the meat, but also a simple way for you to get food poisoning. If you simply touch your mouth/face with raw meats on your hands, you are likely going to get sick.
Workstations should be kept separately:
The best rule while dealing with different meat, vegetables, fruits, and ingredients in the kitchen are to have separate work areas for each of them.
So, have one cutting board for poultry, one for fish, one for raw meat, one for vegetables, and other ingredients. Not only does this prevent contamination, but also helps you keep things organized in the kitchen.
Clean work areas frequently:
In addition to the above points, make sure you keep your work areas neat and clean. After cutting anything on a cutting board (even fruits or vegetables), clean that board before you put something else on it (especially if the item is raw). Sometimes you use meat smoker to grill meat. Don't forget to clean your smoker and cast iron grill grates properly every time after grilling.
A soapy water mix with warm water is sufficient to kill the majority of the bacteria. And when you are all done with preparing and cooking meals, there are many sprays and cleaning solutions you can use to clean the cutting boards. It will help further kill the bacteria.
Dish rags are a major area of concern:
Do you use the same dish rag to wipe a dirty counter, and then wipe off your cutting board? You aren't alone. And you should know that this is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to cleanliness, contamination, and yes, of course, food poisoning.
So, make sure that you have separate dish towels, just as you have workstations and cutting boards for individual raw foods you are preparing. Dirty and damp cloths are a major area for bacteria to grow.
You must allow them to fully dry prior to using them again. If possible, make sure that you clean them with soap solutions to ensure the cleanest areas possible while working in the kitchen.
Knives are a major area for bacterial growth:
Just like you have separate cutting boards, you should also have separate knives to work within the kitchen. Depending on what you are preparing, you should have a knife that is dedicated to the particular food or raw meat you are preparing.
Apart from the knives themselves, where you store your knives is typically one of the dirtiest areas. So, rather than using a block to store knives (where it is dark and bacteria can grow), look for magnetic storage solutions that you can keep on the wall.
Doing this not only helps to prevent bacterial growth but also allows your knives to breath when they are not in use.
Raw versus cooked:
Raw meats should not come anywhere near your prepared meats. While cooking or grilling, make sure that you have two very distinct areas. And always keep them as far away as possible from one another. Don't use the same dish to put raw meat and fully cooked meat while you are grilling.
Again, many people do this, and it simply is not safe. It is best to use a few extra dishes and clean them up afterward as opposed to using a single dish. Keep in mind that your food might get contaminated and the germs and bacteria can cause food poisoning if you are not careful.
Cook it thoroughly:
It might happen that you love raw steak. But it isn't healthy for you. Make sure you are preparing your meat to the appropriate temperature. And, it doesn't end with meat. You also have to be extremely careful with poultry and eggs as well.
The more you cook them, to the suggested temperatures for consumption, the more bacteria you are going to kill prior to eating these foods.
So, make sure that they are prepared properly, and you are fully cooking all meats, poultry, fish, and raw eggs (or dairy) before you consume it. This simple effort will help prevent the spread of germs, bacteria, and eliminate the potential for food poisoning.
Bottom shelf rule:
While storing raw meat in the fridge or your freezer, keep it on the bottom shelf. Yes, raw meat has blood and it is likely to drip, especially as it is thawing. You don't want this to fall on other items in your fridge. So, make sure that you don't put it on the top or middle racks.
You will also want to place a cover under the raw meat. If the meat is thawing, this cover can help contain the dripping from spreading all over the bottom shelf. You can't ever be too safe when it comes to preventing contamination and illness. So, take the necessary steps to limit the spread/contamination of blood.
Of course, there is no way to eliminate the possibility of contamination 100%, especially if you are grilling and cooking frequently at home.
But, there are a number of steps you can take that are going to limit or eliminate the spread of germs, and the possibility of cross-contamination while you are preparing these foods. You can't be too cautious when it comes to your health.
For those who are looking for simple solutions on how to avoid food poisoning, these are a few \easy tips you can follow while you are preparing foods and dealing with raw meat/poultry in the kitchen.