Food Safety - Common Guidelines to Follow in Your Home
- Author Kathleen Hill
- Published May 27, 2011
- Word count 498
Food safety guidelines are implemented to ensure the safety and suitability of food items for human consumption. This includes proper handling, storage and preservation. Most countries implement a set of food safety standards for restaurants and food service industries to follow. Some of these are extremely basic, and can be easily followed at home.
Proper temperature is crucial in maintaining food safety. Be sure to maintain proper temperature when storing raw food items and uncooked meat. Extreme heat spoils certain types of food, making them vulnerable to contamination. Food that is exposed to bacteria and microbes become breeding grounds for food-borne diseases. A person who accidentally eats spoiled food is likely to get poisoned or experience gastrointestinal cramps. In worse cases, the person may get severely ill.
Maintaining proper temperature is still necessary, even after the food is cooked. Be extra careful when reheating precooked food. Be sure to reheat cooked food that has been left to cool before serving. Improper heating can cause diarrhea, an upset stomach, dyspepsia or other digestive problems. There are 2 basic rules to remember when it comes to temperature and food safety. Be sure cold food is kept cold, and warm food is kept warm. These basic food safety rules will help ensure food contamination is kept at bay.
The goal of food safety is to keep food suitable for consumption, and prevent water-borne and food-borne diseases from spreading. Hence, cross-contamination is one of the most crucial food safety factors to address. Never place cooked dishes in a container that held raw meat, and vice-versa. Wash chopping boards and knives after each use. You may use warm soapy water for added measure. A surface can get contaminated with bacteria and harmful organisms once it is exposed to raw meat. The risk of contamination is very likely if you use the same knife and chopping board for vegetables and meat.
Leftovers should be given the same attention as uncooked items when it comes to storage. Many people overlook this food safety guideline, and end up with spoiled food that could have been used if only they were stored properly. Keep leftovers in an airtight container before storing them in the freezer or refrigerator. Freezer bags may come in handy when storing leftover food. This keeps the food from getting spoiled and makes them safe for future use. Proper freezing and food safety techniques make leftovers last for at least a day or two.
A well-maintained preparation area is an essential aspect of food safety. Clean cookware and tools are less likely to get contaminated with harmful organisms and bacteria. Dust, mold, and debris can easily accumulate and settle in untidy kitchens. Bits of leftover food can also attract insects or mice, which may carry harmful diseases. This is almost as damaging as cross-contamination. Cleaning your kitchen is recommended before food preparation. Make sure kitchen counters, stove tops, cookware, utensils and tools are bacteria-free by disinfecting and sanitizing them regularly.
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