The importance of food safety for people of all ages cannot be overstated. It protects the human population from health-related risks and the risks of food-borne diseases, allergies, or death. Over the years, the food industry has made some major advancements in food handling and packaging. This includes top-notch food packaging techniques using such technology as Cavanna turn-key flow wrapping and cartoning machinery and systems and the likes.
However, thousands of individuals and even businesses are still prone to making food safety mistakes that may result in product recalls, financial losses, hospital bills, lawsuits, and other unfavorable events. These are a few commonly made food safety mistakes that you should avoid.
Reusing Your Shopping Bags Without Washing
It’s always a good idea to switch from plastic bags to tote bags to be kinder to the environment. However, if you do not wash your tote bags regularly, you just might be poisoning yourself while trying to save the environment. When you carry raw groceries such as fresh meat and fish in your totes bag, juices can flow out of these food items and contaminate your bag with bacteria.
To avoid this food safety mistake, you should wash your shopping bags regularly in hot water. Alternatively, you could use only disposable bags to carry uncooked fish, meat, and poultry.
Eating Food Made Under Questionable Conditions
In recent years, there have been debates as to whether organic food is better than genetically modified food and the reasons why biodynamic food is better than organic food. No matter what type of food you decide to settle for, you should make sure it contains little to no microbiological hazards by the time it’s passing through your mouth. When buying food items, try to stay away from adulterated food or those that contain too many food additives, pesticide residues, and chemical contaminants such as biological toxins.
You have your refrigerator overstuffed
Sometimes you find that your refrigerator is all packed, and there is no possibility of fitting in another item, but somehow you still manage to create some more “space” for something. There is a problem with overstuffing refrigerators- cold air can’t properly circulate, which means that the air inside starts warming up, and some bad bacteria start to grow. Always avoid overpacking your fridge if it’s possible.
You wash raw chicken
You probably give your raw chicken a thorough wash in your kitchen sink before cooking, don’t you? So now your sink and countertops are all covered by small and nearly invisible bacteria from chicken. You don’t need to wash chicken in your sink! Simply take it out of the store packaging and start cooking. When you wash chicken, it helps bacteria move to your meal preparation area, and there’s a great risk of getting food poisoning from salmonella. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly advises that we desist from washing chicken, turkey, meat, and eggs and rather cook them thoroughly to eliminate all germs. However, you can still wash your vegetables and other non-raw food items in the sink.
You store all that eggs in the egg holder by your refrigerator door
It seems like such a waste to have an egg compartment in your fridge and not use it, so you use it. However, there are a few problems that come along with it. That door section is the warmest place in your refrigerator, and you will simply not be able to tell when your eggs become bad and start breeding bacteria. A better approach would be to store your eggs in the coldest place in your refrigerator to prevent any growth of bacteria. That refrigerator door is constantly opened and closed, and because of that process – the temperature always fluctuates in that part of the fridge. You should also store your eggs in the carton which comes with them; that way, you can always check the expiration date as well as decrease the chance of cracking.
Thawing meat in hot water or on the kitchen counter
In the process of defrosting on the counter, the outer layer of meat starts to increase in temperature, and bacteria start to grow at the same time as the meat thaws. Trying to thaw meat in hot water is not any better either. All that does is create a pool of microbes that can spread around the kitchen countertop. There are a few smart ways to thaw meat – 1) Thaw meat in the refrigerator itself; trying it this way may take one full day to thaw small meat pieces. Depending on the quantity of meat being thawed, it should be safe in the fridge for a day or two for poultry and ground meat and pork and beef for like 3 to 5 days. 2) Thaw meat in a microwave. After that, cook it immediately. 3) Thaw meat in cold water – turn meat (chicken usually) into a leak-proof bag of cold water and change the water every 30 minutes until the meat is completely defrosted, then cook right after that.
Judge food leftovers by their smell, sight, or taste
Your stir-fry sits in the fridge for about five days or even a week but still looks and smells good, so you make lunch with it. It’s wrong to eat such foods because it’s more than likely to contain bacteria that could cause food poisoning! If you’re going to keep your leftovers for up to 3 days, then you’re better off freezing them.
Washing food Items with dirty hands or rinsing pre-washed greens
If you take fruits and vegetables from the fridge to wash them under the sink without washing your hands first, you are simply transferring bacteria back and forth. So, wash hands by themselves before handling food or food items, both raw or cooked. The same goes when you wash your greens even though their bag says: “triple washed .”Those do not need to be washed again as you may simply be transferring bacteria from your hands, bowl, or sink into the greens, causing cross-contamination. Such foods are already safe to eat and do not need any “additional” washing or rinsing.