Stop smoking. Lose weight. Save money. Exercise more. These are all popular New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, many just don’t stick. People start off with the best of intentions, and then life gets in the way (or, at least, that’s the excuse). Resolutions are quickly forgotten in favor of the other things that have to be taken care of.
Instead of making a resolution that you aren’t likely to stick to, why not try to change your habits instead? Being more aware of food safety is something that can benefit everyone. Thousands of people are seen in hospitals each year due to food poisoning and other food-related illnesses. You can prevent these things from happening to you, your family and guests by adopting some new habits.
1. Food Thermometers
If you are like most people, you use your eyes and nose to determine when food is cooked properly. Maybe you even use a fork or spoon to taste a small piece. Chances are that you don’t take your food’s temperature. There is no time to invest in a food thermometer like now. These inexpensive kitchen tools can help you make sure your food is cooked properly and bacteria is killed.
Temperature guidelines for cooking include:
- Cut of red meat: 145 degrees
- Poultry 165: degrees
- Ground meats: 160 degrees
- Fish: 145 degrees
- Egg dishes: 145
Reheated leftovers should be cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees. Take the temperature of your food from the middle of the dish and the center of the food.
2. Wash and Wash Again
Most of us don’t wash our hands when we are preparing food for ourselves or even when dipping into the bag of chips. Make washing your hands before you handle food a new habit for this year. Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 10 seconds before you grab any food. This will help to ensure that you aren’t introducing any bacteria to the food you are preparing or eating.
Once you are done handling food, wash your hands again. This is especially important if you have handled any raw meat or poultry.
3. Stay in Bed
If you have a family, it stands to reason that you can’t let a little bout of the flu get you down. You have things to do after all and people are counting on you. Don’t let one of those things you have to do be preparing a meal, especially if you have diarrhea or are vomiting. If you are sick, keep your germs to yourself and away from the food. Washing your hands may not be enough to prevent you from spreading your germs.
4. Get Rid of the Sponge
If you clean the dishes or counters with a sponge, ditch it. No matter how well you think you are cleaning your sponge, if you do clean your sponge, it is a virtual playground for bacteria. Instead of a sponge, invest in a few dish towels that you can throw in the wash. Wipe down the counters with a premoistened antibacterial wipe, or use a spray cleaner and a paper towel.
5. Wash the Apples
Open the fridge, grab an apple and take a bite. These are the steps that most follow when they want a quick snack. Failing to wash that apple could be risky. Don’t assume that your fruits and vegetables are free of germs — or pesticides (even the organic produce). Always wash them under lukewarm water before eating to rinse off any germs or residue.
6. Cook It
Sushi is all the rage right now. No matter how much you love to dine on raw fish, you should know that you are putting your health at risk. It is rarely safe to eat raw food, even sushi that has been professionally prepared. It is always best to eat foods after they have been cooked. If you need your sushi fix, eat it in moderation. No child or person with a compromised immune system should eat raw food, period.
7. Throw Out the Leftovers
Don’t eat any leftovers stored in the fridge beyond day four. If you know you will want the same meal next weekend, put it in a container and put it in the freezer. Having what’s left of tonight’s dinner for tomorrow’s lunch is perfectly safe in most cases. Eating it next week is not. Get out of the habit of storing leftovers until they smell funny or start to grow fuzz.
When you adopt these food safety tips, you and your family are less likely to experience the effects of a foodborne illness. If you eat out or at someone’s house in West Palm Beach and become sick, you may be able to seek compensation for any medical costs you incur. Reach out to our team of personal injury attorneys today for a free case evaluation and let us advise you of the options available to you.