How to handle food safely

Some say that their kitchen is the heart of their home, and we’re not here to disagree with that. For many people, it’s the place where they cook their food, and in some cases, especially those where they might not have the convenience of a dining room, it’s also the place where they gather around a table and eat with friends and family.

But spending time in the kitchen has to be safe, above all else. You can get food poisoning from a lot of things, and many times, you can do so from store-bought foodstuffs or takeout — at least, more than you would if you were to cook your own meals. Why’s that? Well, the fact is that you’d at least know how you’ve handled the ingredients if you were the one preparing the courses.

Here are some tips to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.

Foods you should watch out for

If you are a vegan, the likelihood of you getting food poisoning is lower compared to the chances of an omnivore going through the same mishap. But even if you’re a vegetarian, you’re still not out of harm’s way, because you might consume milk, cheese, or eggs. Pescatarians have a higher risk, too, because fish in sushi rolls, as well as shellfish, can get spoiled faster compared to vegetables.

Generally, you should watch out for foods like eggs, meat, and poultry, all types of fish, any kind of unpasteurized milk, as well as uncooked deli meats and hot dogs. Some cheese varieties, like brie and feta, might put you at a higher risk.

Wash your hands thoroughly

After handling things like raw meat, you should always pay attention to washing your hands with care. You need to make sure that you clean all of your utensils and dishes, as well as your cutting boards after you’ve used them with meat and poultry.

Even some types of devices and appliances like a gram scale can create problems if you do not take the time to clean them thoroughly. If possible, all of your utensils and cutting boards should be made out of nonporous materials — this way, no germs will remain in their structure and as such, they won’t risk contaminating anything that you might use with that item.

The right temperatures

One of the reasons so many people get food poisoning every year is that they do not cook their food properly. A whole chicken should be cooked at 165F while all steaks and roasts at a minimum of 145F. That’s a lot, right? But there’s more. Any ground beef you might use for your hamburgers needs to reach at least 160F for a variable amount of time (depending on its thickness) to make sure that you’re still healthy after eating it. And ground poultry is even more dangerous because it has to be cooked to 165F.

While it might be tempting to want to eat a partially cooked egg just because it has a nice consistency and it is, after all, one of the most scrumptious meals out there, you might want to know that the safest way of going about things is to eat eggs that have both the white and the yolk as firm as possible.