Learn how to prevent food poisoning with these easy tips from IBA Member Stacy of Food Safety Super Hero.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but, there’s a strong possibility you may be making some common food safety mistakes that could cause some serious issues for you and your family. Don’t worry, we’re friends, right? Well, friends help friends out, and you’re in luck because today I’m going to share with you 10 crazy easy ways to prevent food poisoning.
Let’s get real here. handling food safely is more important than tossing away clumpy old milk that’s hanging out in the back of your refrigerator, or making sure you washed your fruits and veggies properly.
Sure, both of those are really important, but there are a few things you’re overlooking, or it may have never crossed your mind. Unfortunately, some of these things can result in some major consequences.
Did you know there are over 48 million Americans are stricken with food poisoning each year?
Dang, that’s a lot! I don’t want you to be a statistic, because friends don’t let friends become a statistic.
Here are 10 ways you can prevent food poisoning.
1: Stop tasting your food while you’re cooking or preparing it.
Not only is double-dipping gross, but every time you taste something you’re cooking, you’re adding bacteria to the non-contaminated food.
TRUE STORY: Years ago before I got smart and got divorced, whenever we would have a family gathering at our house, my ex would love to make tuna salad. I hate the smell of fish so naturally, I wouldn’t go anywhere near it.
One day, I decided to watch him make it – which was a huge mistake.
Here he is, mixing his tuna and celery in a wooden bowl. In goes a dollop of mayonnaise. Now he mixes it. Now he tastes it, realizes it needs more mayonnaise and puts the spoon he put in his gross mouth into the mayonnaise jar, scooped out another 2 dollops and proceeded to mix it into the tuna.
Lord only knows where his nasty mouth was before he made the tuna. GROSS! Everyone who ate that tuna ate whatever bacteria was growing in his gingivitis ridden mouth.
Did you get a visual? I most certainly hope you did. It’s okay to taste your food while preparing it, but every time you dip, use another spoon!
2: Putting cooked or ready-to-eat foods back on the plate that held the raw meat.
Yes, I know, I sound like a broken record, but if you hear me say it enough, perhaps you’ll stop doing it.
Here’s the deal. Never let raw meat of any type (beef, poultry, fish, organs) touch cooked or ready-to-eat foods, as this is the number one way to cross-contaminate your food. The bacteria can transfer from your raw meat to your cooked meat in a manner of seconds. Always use separate plates and separate utensils.
Put on your thinking cap to the last time you barbecued some steak. When you took your steak off your plate with a fork, did you leave the fork sitting on the plate where the raw steak was? When your steak was cooked, did you put it back on that plate with that fork?
It’s okay, I’ll forgive you this time, but let’s not do it again!
3: Washing your meat or poultry.
I’m gonna start off by asking, why?
What’s the purpose of washing meat? There is none.
The only thing you’re doing when you’re hosing down your roast, turkey or chicken is making the bacteria run away from the water.
Where are those nasty little varmints going to run off to? That’s easy, your sink, your counter, your clothes, and if you really turn the water on hard enough, you may even get splashed in the eye with bacteria water.
It’s gross. Now stop doing it!
4: Thawing your meat on the counter.
I hate to break the news to you, but your mother was wrong.
When I was a young mother, I always put the ground beef out on the counter all day to defrost. After all, that’s what my mother did and heck, she’s supposed to be smart because after all, she’s my mom.
Well, my mom was wrong, and she’s still wrong. Leaving meat out on the counter to defrost is one of the worst things you can do. By letting your meat thaw on the counter, it’s allowing the bacteria to multiply faster than two bunnies.
I know it may take longer to defrost but thaw your meat in the refrigerator. You should totally read my earlier blog post The Best Way To Defrost Meat Without Being Sick Like A Dog. Don’t you just love my titles?
5: Letting your food cool before putting it in the refrigerator.
This mistake is the one mistake that made me give my boys and myself the worse case of food poisoning ever.
There really is no purpose to leave food sitting out to cool before putting it in the refrigerator, aside from the fact your mother probably taught you to do so. As we’ve already learned…stop listening to her, because she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
Sometimes bad advice travels quicker than a yeast infection. Yep, don’t you just love my metaphors?
If you leave food out to cool for more than two hours, or for an hour if it’s 90°F outside, the bacteria is going to grow at a super quick rate. Always, put your perishable foods in the refrigerator as quickly as you can.
You can read the rest of the list on Food Safety Superhero.
About the Author
My name is Stacey Kaplan and I live in beautiful SC. I have an amazing honey (commonlaw hubby) of 11 years. I have 2 sons by my first mistake…I mean marriage, and a 3 year-old grandson who is my world. I currently work as a healthcare compliance officer. I love my job, but I’m looking forward to retiring and spending my days just concentrating on my writing. I’ve been blogging for many years and most of my previous blogs I’m pretty embarrassed I ever wrote them. I now finally found where my passion lies and I’m committed on writing the best food safety resource blog out there. Science and my warped personality will bring this to a new level. I’m a huge food safety freak. I became this way after giving my family more incidents of food poisoning from undercooked and ill-prepared food handling and storage. Live and learn.