Staying safe in the kitchen is important for your health and well being, as well as avoiding a visit from your local food safety authority. Here are 8 ways to keep you and your family safe in the kitchen.
8 Ways to Stay Safe in the Kitchen
1. Clean – Wash hands thoroughly before handling food – especially after going to the toilet or touching raw meat. Don’t touch your face, hair or any part of your body (except clean hands) as you go about preparing food.
2. Separate – Don’t allow raw meats to touch other foods during preparation and don’t place cooked meats on the same plate that held the raw meat without washing it first. This also applies to cut fruits/vegies that are being prepared for eating raw. Store uncooked foods in plastic bags or containers with lids, not on shelves where they can fall into ready-to-eat foods, provided your storage area is kept free from clutter and spills so food cannot accumulate.
3. Cook – Ensure all poultry products are heated well enough so there’s no pinkness left inside when cut open, cooked meats are steaming hot right through and steaks are a deep brown on the outside and greyish pink rather than red inside. If possible, use a digital cooking thermometer to check meat is at least 65 degrees Celsius before serving – this avoids any risk of food poisoning from E coli bacteria if the meat has not been cooked completely.
4. Chill – Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within 2 hours, or within 60 minutes if it’s over 30 degrees where you are. Ensure that leftovers have been cooled down enough so they don’t get above 5 degrees when reheating them thoroughly in a microwave oven. Don’t allow cooked meats to cool down slowly either at room temperature or in the fridge because listeria bacteria can grow and multiply causing illness.
5. Separate – Don’t ever put cooked food back onto plates or serving dishes that had raw meat on them without first washing them thoroughly. Always use separate cutting boards for raw meats and ready-to-eat foods such as fruits and vegetables, breads and cheese (if you don’t want to risk cross contamination).
6. Check – When cooking using a microwave oven always stand away from the oven when opening it after cooking has finished because there will be a build up of very hot steam that can scald your skin badly if you’re too close to the oven at this time. Also be careful of glassware containing liquids if you’re removing the dish straight out of the oven – let it cool down to avoid painful thermal burns occurring.
7. Clean – Scrub food preparation benches with hot, soapy water before and after preparing different types of foods (including raw meat, poultry and seafood), wipe them down with a disposable cloth or paper towel moistened with disinfectant to kill germs or use anti-bacterial wipes between tasks.
8. Separate – Store meats in the coldest part of the fridge (usually near the bottom) at 5 degrees or below to avoid listeria bacteria multiplying too quickly. Don’t leave cooked meats sitting on your benchtop for more than 2 hours (1 hour if a warm summer day) before refrigerating it. Cold temperatures slow the rate at which bacteria grows in food, not eliminate it completely