Handling food safely is the best way to prevent many of the illnesses related to food consumption. Making a sandwich is one thing but when it comes to handling uncooked and raw foods it is of vital importance that certain steps be taken to insure safety.
Perhaps the simplest to remember and easiest to do is to just wash your hands. There are many bad things that can be spread about on your hands. Washing your hands can reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50 percent. Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds to make sure you get all areas. If you touch raw meat or fish, make sure you wash your hands again before touching any other food items.
Cross contamination is a big problem but an easy one to avoid. Cross contamination occurs when raw or unwashed food items come in contact with safe food items. This often happens during barbeques where people have a tendency to reuse plates or utensils. Juices from raw meats can also leak out and contaminate other food in the refrigerator. To prevent contamination, use different plates and containers and utensils for each raw meat item. If you wash any meat in the sink, make sure you clean the entire area thoroughly before using it for something else.
Make sure you cook meat thoroughly to get rid of any bacteria. Use a meat thermometer to insure the food is safe. For most meats the internal temperature at the thickest part should be 145 degrees, 160 degrees for ground meat.
When you’re done, store properly. Remember that bacteria multiply rapidly on food between the temperatures of 40 and 140 degrees. Milk is vulnerable so don’t leave it out too long. Make sure your refrigerator is maintained at a temperature of less than 40 degrees to prevent bacteria spreading. Be safe with the food you eat.