The Basics: Proper Food Handling and Sanitation Techniques

sanitation1Previously when I had been only a wee Brandon, I worked as a waiter in a restaurant in Lee’s Summit, Missouri and had been required to acquire a food safety card to be able to work in the restaurant industry. Even though I most certainly didn’t pay very much attention in class, I did comprehend the value of not making men and women sick with the food I served them. Normally, cleaning up drops to the bottom of many to-do lists out there (I know I am guilty of this); on the other hand, if there is one place that you must by no means skip – it’s the kitchen. I want to go over a couple of essentials right now to help you to keep your kitchen germ-free to make sure you aren’t delivering anyone a nasty bug that may leave them running for the washroom after eating and enjoying your food.
Staying Clean The easiest way to keep things clean in the kitchen is definitely chlorine bleach. It is cheap, easy to use and most importantly effective, oh so efficient. I prefer to have a spray bottle containing a bleach solution under the kitchen sink all the time. The percentage of bleach to normal water is very important – too much and you’ll be required to wipe the surface down using a moistened towel afterwards; not enough and you won’t destroy all harmful bacteria. I end up getting the ratio straight from the source AKA Clorox and they encourage 1 teaspoon for each qt . of normal water. It is sufficiently strong enough for you to disinfect the countertops, but weak enough so it won’t bleach your clothes and / or kitchen towels. All you have to do is spray, wipe and walk away. I like to clean up and spray down the fridge monthly. I also will spray down all the food preparation areas every night soon after I am done making food – this means all the surfaces, cutting boards and stovetops. I would like to take a moment to discuss cross contamination since I see it occur a lot.

In essence, cross contamination happens when you infect 1 bit of food from the microorganisms coming from another type of food. The easiest example is that you cut up a chicken breast on your cutting board and next cut up fresh vegetables for your salad on the same board. At this point you’ve infected all of the ready-to-eat foodstuff with salmonella which unfortunately demands that you either throw them away or cook them to at least 165°. Instead, the smarter choice is to utilize different cutting boards for raw meats and ready-to-eat food items. That’s one simple method to get your foodstuffs cross contaminated and something nearly everyone knows to avoid, but there are thousands of more circumstances where you could trip up.
How about when you find yourself grilling or preparing meat on your range? Most people make use of tongs or perhaps a spatula so that they can set the food on there and also to flip it over as soon as their food is finished, they will grab the exact same tongs and set the food on a plate for eating. Well, all you have accomplished at this point is take germs and bacteria from your tongs, put them on a cooked piece of food and then served that to an unsuspecting visitor. Its for these reasons it’s important to have 2 sets of tongs/utensils available while cooking: one designed for uncooked foods and one for prepared foods. As you can tell, all it takes is being hurried or simply a little brain-fart for you to offer a meal of roasted chicken having salmonella sauce.
Oh yeah, I shouldn’t have to reference this, nevertheless I will: wash your hands, people! Before you start cooking food. Following you work with uncooked meat. Or once you touch the trash, dish sponge or pick your nose. I prevent a whole lot of hand washing by wearing latex gloves which you can get from Amazon or pretty much any neighborhood drug store. It’s an excellent way to keep everything sanitary with out washing both hands Half a dozen times any time you cook.
The DANGER ZONE
There is absolutely no highway to the danger zone, instead it’s a hard, slow route full of a lot of journeys towards your nearest bathroom. As anyone that’s suffered from food poisoning can testify, coming down with botulism isn’t any fun by any means. A big explanation why people get food poisoning is caused by the so called “danger zone” – that is food being stored anywhere between 40° and 140° for an lengthy period of time. Make sure your fridge is maintained below 40° constantly and also your freezer a maximum of 0°.
This will certainly help keep all of your food safe and sound from the hazards of harmful microorganisms. Now, I can see you sitting there and thinking that, “Hey! Isn’t this coming from the same person who explained to me to place the pork on the counter-top for Around 30 minutes to get it to room temperature?!?” I know, I know. It appears a bit contradictory however allow me to explain. I buy my meat from respected providers. I can tell that the food cases are typically clean and the packages are not leaking. I can also take a look at thermometers on their cases indicating that it is cooler than 40° and there are clear use-by days listed.
What I am getting at is the food I buy is totally free of microbes plus I practice safe food-handling processes in my apartment so there is incredibly low chances of getting sick through enjoying food which had been resting on the counter-top for 30 minutes. Would I let it sit out there for a few hours on the counter? Heck no. That’s a different scenario, but for 30 minutes, be assured that for as long as you apply safe food-handling at-home, you’ll continue to be free of food-borne sickness. Food Storage There’s a place for everything and everything has their area.
As a little bit of a neat freak, this particular statement resonates quite nicely with me, however I bring it up for an additional reason: you will find there’s a proper structure of food storage inside of your refrigerator. Every fridge I’ve looked at seems to have at the very least 3 shelves as well as a drawer or 2 so I’ll work with that imaginary fridge as our guide. On the top rack we should position anything that is ready-to-eat or safe to eat without being prepared. I’m talking oranges, lettuce, fruit and stuff like that. On the level beneath that, I set additional ready-to-eat snacks or perhaps leftovers. The bottom level is perfect for your raw meats along with anything that has the potential to drip onto other food items. Gravity makes this technique work.
It’s no biggie should you get some water or drop some lettuce on the raw meats, that’s simple to cleanup/throw away. However consider in case your chicken’s package has a hole in it and you leak chicken juice (yuck!) all over your celery, cheeses and cucumbers? Let me tell you, then you’ve to chuck all of that away. Be smart and make use of the above mentined technique to help keep food items safe from one another. Minimum Food Temps I intend on working up a beautiful chart one of these days, but for now, listed here is a quick and dirty guide to minimum food temps to destroy any pathogens. Fish – 140° Sushi – under 40° Beef (non-ground) – cook to preferred doneness, I enjoy medium rare so 135° Beef (ground) – 155° Pork (non-ground) – 150° Pork (ground) – 160° Poultry – 165° Turkey (ground) – 170°
Hopefully now with these basic, easy-to-follow recommendations you can keep your house free of food-borne ailments and practice safe food-handling methods simply because the most effective way for you to lose acquaintances is to give them diarrhea!