Quick Recipes and Easy

Food Handling Safety For Home Cooks

For the home cook, food handling safety can be a huge issue. Lack of proper care can lead to a variety of food-borne illnesses, even death. Nationwide, thousands of people end up in emergency rooms every year suffering from illnesses that could have been avoided had basic food safety rules been followed.

The largest culprit in the kitchen is cross-contamination. Basically, that boils down to keeping raw and cooked foods separate. That sounds simple enough, but it’s something that trips up even the most experienced home cook from time to time.

Take for example your Saturday night dinner. You want to grill some steaks, so you lay them on your cutting board to trim off stout and season them. Later, you choose to make a salad to go with the steaks. You rinsed off the cutting board after trimming the steaks, but didn’t properly clean it with soap and hot water. Bacteria left on the board, which are killed by the heat of grilling, are transferred to the raw greens for your salad.

You set the salad on the table at room temperature, and with the moisture in the greens and the abundant organic matter, you’ve made a bacterial buffet that will have you and your guests spending a large part of your time in the bathroom for the next few days.

Cross-contamination also comes into play on the stovetop. Say you’ve got three pots going. In one, there’s raw pork simmering. In another, there’s a mess of turnip greens cooking. In the third, there’s a sauce for the pork cooling. In your rush, you use the spoon with which you’d stirred the raw pork to stir the sauce. The bacteria from the raw pork transfers to the sauce, which is no longer hot enough to kill it.

See how simple it is? Fortunately, it’s also simple to avoid. The simplest way to avoid the cutting board blues is to have two boards: one for meats and one for vegetables. You still need to clean them well, of course, but the risk of immediate illness will be lowered. On the stovetop, use two or even three different spoon rests to keep your tools separate.

A small care now can save a lot of suffering later!

Andrew Krause is a Chef and Pastry Chef for over 30 years, at present I own a Gourmet Bakery called The Cheese Confectioner.You can visit my site at andies.cashhosters2.com andies.cashhosters2.com

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