Eight Food Handling Tips for Home Cooking.
Home-dining is always a joyful experience for most of us and a great time for family bonding. However, improper food handling takes the fun out of the whole experience! Found below are some essential food safety and handling tips to make sure that your family gets to enjoy every bite of your home-cooked meal:
1. Lather up.
Follow the 20-second rule in washing your hands with soap and water before and after food handling.
2. No to room temperature.
Do not leave perishables and thaw frozen goods at room temperature. Thaw food in the fridge and make sure you prep them for cooking within two hours.
3. Temp check.
Make sure food is cooked based on recommended internal temperature. Here's a sample cooking temperature chart for consumers according to the Minnesota Department of Health website:
- Grounded meats (beef, chicken, turkey) – 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit
- Chopped meats (beef, veal, lambs) – 160 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit
- Pork – 160 degrees Fahrenheit
- Fish and Shellfish – 145 degrees Fahrenheit
- Poultry – 165 degrees Fahrenheit
- Eggs – 160 degrees Fahrenheit
- Rabbit – 160 degrees Fahrenheit
- Ham – 160 degrees Fahrenheit
4. Sanitize knives and cutting boards.
Do not reuse knives and cutting boards after previously using it for raw seafood, poultry or meat. Make sure to wash them with soap and water in between use. If you want to make sure that bacteria are completely killed off, sanitize the knives and boards with diluted bleach.
5. Food is done according to these visual cues:
- Juices running from meat and poultry are no longer pink.
- Meat is no longer pinkish in color.
- Eggs are firm.
- Shellfish is no longer transparent.
- Fish meat parts easily with a fork.
6. Store food at the bottom layer of the fridge.
Securely store raw food at the bottom layer of the refrigerator to keep juices from dripping on and contaminating other food.
7. Never reuse marinades.
A rule of thumb is to marinate food in the fridge and not at room temp. Make sure to discard leftover marinades-it is teeming with bacteria and would spoil soon after anyway.
8. Change towels and sponges regularly.
Stop the spread of fungi and bacteria by drying and replacing dish towels and sponges regularly. Also, dry your hands using paper towels instead of using ones made from fabric.
Food handler training can come in handy even for small-time cooks and stay-at-home moms. There's so much to learn about food handling from a food handler certification course which could be of great help to any cook or food handler out there.