Sometimes, common food safety mistakes we make in the kitchen can have severe and major consequences on our health and our family’s. Handling food in a safe way is more than just checking expiry dates and washing our fruits and vegetables. Here are simple mistakes we make on a daily basis that could get us food poisoned:
Tasting food to check if it’s still good
We’ve all done it: tasting a small amount of food to make sure if it’s still good. Tasting expired food could make you ill; you only need to ingest a tiny amount of spoiled food to get sick. Always check expiry dates, because sometimes bacteria isn’t visible, tasted, or smelled!
Thawing food on the kitchen counter
Food should only be thawed in the refrigerator, under cold water, or defrosted in the microwave. Bacteria multiply very fast at room temperature! Always make sure you thaw your frozen food the proper way!
Forgetting to change sponges and dishrags regularly
Sponges and dishrags are filled with bacteria, and we often forget to change them regularly. They’re some of the dirtiest items in your kitchen (check our previous article about “the dirtiest places in your house”). Replace your sponges and dishrags regularly and you can even pop your damp sponges in the microwave for 2 minutes to make them cleaner!
Marinating meat, poultry, and seafood on the counter
Marinating your food is one of the yummiest ways to make your food juicier and tasting better! However, you cannot marinate it in a plastic bag on the kitchen counter, because leaving it at room temperature will cause bacteria to multiply very quickly (and no, cooking it afterwards at a high temperature won’t solve the problem). Always marinate your food in the refrigerator where it can soak up the flavour at a safe temperature.
Cooling down our food before putting it in the fridge
We always wait for our food to cool down before putting it in the fridge, which is the right thing to do because we don’t want to increase the temperature of the fridge. But remember to never let your food outside the fridge for more than 1 to 2 hours maximum or else bacteria will start to proliferate.
Eating raw cookie dough
You’re going to hate me for this, but eating raw cookie dough, no matter how tasty it is, and how tempted you and your kid are to lick the raw batter- is very dangerous, simply because uncooked raw eggs could have Salmonella, and it can make you and your toddler very sick.
Using the same plate for raw meat and cooked meat
This is a very common mistake especially for people who love to barbecue! If your plate has raw meat in it, replace it with a new plate for the new cooked meat to avoid cross contamination. Same applies to chicken, and seafood.
Washing Poultry and Meat
You might think that you’re doing a good thing by washing your chicken and meat with water, but you’re wrong! You’re only spreading the bacteria coming from the food to your sink and kitchen surfaces. Skip the meat washing; and just cook them at an appropriate temperature, and this should be enough!
Putting Raw Meat, or Poultry on the top shelf of the refrigerator
Golden rule is to always place raw meat, and poultry in a bowl in a sealed package or bag at the bottom of the refrigerator, separate from any home-cooked food. You don’t want the raw food’s juices to touch and contaminate any of your other food or even your fridge surfaces! Plus, in case you didn’t know, the bottom of the fridge is the coldest!
Forgetting to check our fridge’s temperature
In order to keep your food out of the Danger Zone and fresh as long as possible, always set the temperature between 0-4 degrees Celsius (32-40° F). If your fridge is not cold enough, it could be a breeding ground for bacteria!