Food borne illnesses are becoming more prevalent as more people continue to get sick. The time has come to play our part and minimize the food contamination risk. One of the ways to do this is proper preparation methods that observe proper hygiene standards.
- Always start with properly washed hands. Clean hands with soap under running warm water. This should be done before and after your handling of food.
- Thoroughly rinse produce before cooking, cutting or eating raw. Washing produce with detergent or soap is often not recommended. Some produce may require a little scrubbing. This should be done with a produce brush to prevent bruising and damage.
- Lettuce leaves should be washed individually.
- Throw away all rotten vegetables and fruit. Bruised areas can be cut away.
- Avoid cross contamination even as you prepare your food. Keep the raw poultry, fish or meat away from vegetables or other food, especially those that will not be cooked.
- Ensure you wash the cutting board you use to cut meats with soapy, warm water after you are done. Utensils and the countertop should be cleaned, as well. Sanitization can be done with chlorine bleach mixed with water in the ratio of 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach to 1 gallon.
- Meat can be marinated in a dish that is covered in the refrigerator.
- Thawing frozen meats should be done in a microwave, refrigerator, or under cold running water. Do not keep it on the counter and leave it there.
- When you are through with the preparation stage, don’t forget to wash your hands again and anything you may have come in contact with, such as faucets.