You Can Prevent Foodborne Illness By
One of the most frustrating things about foodborne illness isn’t just the fact that you get sick and have to spend hours on the toilet; there are so many preventable ways to avoid it in the first place. To help you keep your food safe, we’ve included tips on preventing foodborne illness.
Wash hands with soap after using the bathroom, before handling food
Wash your hands with soap and water, or use a waterless alcohol-based sanitizer whenever you go to the bathroom. This will help keep bacteria from spreading from your hands to kitchen surfaces, utensils, food and plates.
Remember to wash them well before handling raw meat or poultry (even if you plan on using different cutting boards for raw and cooked foods).
If washing your hands is not possible because of an allergy to soap or personal or religious reasons, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol before handling food.
Be sure to follow package directions carefully when using these products. Don’t rely solely on washing with soaps or sanitizers instead of regular handwashing. These products are not designed to replace good hygiene practices.
Suppose you have an immune system disorder such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cancer or certain autoimmune disorders like lupus, psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis. In that case, it’s essential to practice proper hygiene more often than usual.
Wash your hands frequently especially after going to the bathroom and changing diapers and always wash thoroughly after preparing any meat for cooking.
Wash your fruits and vegetables
Washing produce may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow through with it. According to a study, only 32 percent of people always wash their produce before eating or cooking them.
Even if you prefer raw fruits and veggies, giving them a quick rinse under running water is still essential before cutting into them. Your hands also come into contact with an enormous amount of bacteria every day bacteria that can be transferred onto fresh fruits and vegetables when you handle them for chopping or peeling later on.
By washing your produce first, you kill off most of these bacteria before they have a chance to spread. Washing is one of the easiest ways to reduce exposure to E. coli and other harmful germs.
And while we’re at it: Don’t forget about washing your hands! It might not be sexy, but washing up after handling uncooked foods will also help keep those germs at bay. If you want extra sanity, use hand sanitizer, soap, and hot water after using the bathroom.
You are Rinsing all produce in cool tap water before eating it (and using scrub brushes on challenging items like carrots). If tap water isn’t safe to drink, use bottled or filtered water instead.
Also, ensure any kitchen tools are properly cleaned, especially if they touch raw meat and produce. Wash knives, boards, utensils, bowls, etc., with hot soapy water after each use (and clean anything that has touched raw meat separately from everything else).
It would help if you also washed anything that touches uncooked eggs (like bowls) separately from anything else since eggs can carry salmonella.
Cook foods thoroughly
Foods like chicken and ground beef must be cooked to a specific internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. You’ll often see time-to-temperature recommendations on these kinds of products, so make sure you use them as a guideline when cooking your meat.
Ground beef must be cooked to 160°F; chicken breasts should hit an internal temperature of 165°F before being served. (On average, it takes about 14 minutes for ground beef or chicken breasts to reach those temperatures.) When in doubt, throw it out!
If you are unsure whether your chicken is ready for consumption, don’t just wing it cut it into a portion and check it’s inside with a thermometer.
Clean kitchen surfaces regularly.
Everyday cooking creates grease and grime that accumulates on kitchen surfaces. Bacteria can grow between these surfaces, even when we don’t see them. These bacteria can spread to your utensils, cutting boards, and other characters if you don’t clean them daily.
Since cooking is a significant cause of foodborne illness, staying on top of a clean kitchen surface can keep you healthy. But how often should you do it; The Foundation suggests cleaning up all spills immediately, washing dishes immediately after use, or doing a quick rinse before letting them air dry to reduce bacterial growth.
It also recommends daily cleaning counters with hot soapy water and disinfecting wipes for filthy areas. International household cleaners containing bleach effectively kill most common household germs, including E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella.
However, bleach isn’t an appropriate sanitizer for food contact surfaces like countertops because FDA does not approve it as a sanitizer for those uses and some studies have shown that repeated exposure to bleach may lead to sensitization in some people who come into contact with it frequently.
Keep raw meat away from other foods
Be sure to keep raw meat separate from other foods and use clean utensils when cooking. Cooking food to a proper temperature kills bacteria and prevents it from contaminating other foods.
Be sure to thoroughly cook all meat, especially chicken, pork and ground beef. Steaks should be cooked until they are well done or reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius).
Chicken should be cooked until no pink remains inside (165 degrees Fahrenheit or 74 degrees Celsius). Ground beef should be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius) for safety reasons, even if you’re serving it rare.
Here’s a fact: No matter how well you prepare your home kitchen, there is no guarantee that bacteria and other nasty bugs won’t make their way in. Food safety is essential to your health and that of your family but it’s not an impossible feat to accomplish.
By keeping clean, sanitary conditions in your kitchen, handling food properly before and after cooking and promptly storing leftovers, you can prevent foodborne illness or avoid it altogether. And remember: If something doesn’t look or smell right, don’t take a chance on what might be lurking beneath a thin layer of mayonnaise. Instead, toss any suspect foods as soon as possible.