When preventing food-borne illness, one of the most important topics is the proper handling, preparation and storage of high-risk foods. This post will provide an overview of safe food practices when working with or storing potentially hazardous ingredients such as raw meats, poultry, dairy and shellfish. In this blog post, we will share 6 ways to handle, prepare, and store high-risk foods, Correctly. So, let’s get started!
1. Understand Food Safety Basics.Food safety is an essential consideration for anyone who is preparing meals or handling food. To ensure safe food handling, you must understand three basic concepts: temperature, hygiene, and cross-contamination.
- Ensuring that all foods are cooked at proper temperatures; undercooked foods can contain harmful bacteria that can cause gastric distress and severe illness if ingested.
- Hygiene is another important factor in avoiding potential problems related to bacteria and other food contaminants; proper washing of hands before handling any type of food, as well as utensils, containers and serving platters, is critical.
- Additionally, cross-contamination must be avoided during preparation: raw ingredients should never touch each other, and you should use separate cutting boards for items such as vegetables or raw meat.
2. Recognise High-Risk Foods.High-risk foods are prone to food-borne illnesses, such as bacteria and viruses. Therefore, it is essential to learn which foods require special attention when handling and storing them to prevent food contamination and the spread of disease. To avoid Bacteria and Viruses in High-risk foods, you need to know details about them. For example, raw or undercooked meats, poultry, eggs, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, seafood, sprouts, certain processed deli meats, and pot pies are all considered high-risk foods. Furthermore, food items prepared in bulk, such as salads containing mayonnaise, are susceptible to bacterial growth if not correctly refrigerated within two hours of preparation. It is best practice to cook these high-risk foods thoroughly before eating them and store them separately from ready-to-eat foods to reduce the possibility of food contamination due to bacteria or viruses.
3. Properly Handle High-Risk Foods.In the kitchen, proper handling of high-risk foods is critical. Safe handling techniques, such as
- Wash your hands and workstation properly.
- Keep work surfaces always clean, mainly when dealing with these foods.
- Establishing a routine is key to proper food safety.
4. Prepare High-Risk Foods Safely.High-risk foods, such as poultry, fish, eggs, and ground beef, require unique cooking methods to ensure they are safe to consume. Food-borne illnesses can occur if these specific foods aren’t cooked thoroughly and to the proper temperature. Therefore, it’s essential to use a digital food thermometer to help ensure each meal is cooked safely by monitoring the internal temperature of the food. Additionally, standard cooling methods for high-risk foods must be followed rigorously after each portion of food has been cooked. In addition, refrigerator cooling is recommended, which helps prevent bacteria from worsening or spreading throughout the food. Following correct instructions and protocols when preparing high-risk foods is essential in providing a safe eating experience for everyone!
5. Store High-Risk Foods Appropriately.Properly maintaining cool temperatures and covering high-risk foods are essential for safe storage. For example, perishable items, such as dairy products and cooked meats, must remain cold or refrigerated to keep bacteria from growing uncontrollably. It is also important to cover certain foods, especially when they are stored in a shared fridge or working kitchen – not only can these items pick up other smells and flavours, but people handling them can introduce other bacteria that can contaminate the food it left uncovered. Although it may seem like a hassle to remember that you need to keep your high-risk foods refrigerated and covered, this extra step will help ensure your food remains safe for consumption.
6. Dispose of Unused High-Risk Foods.Keeping a clean kitchen is an essential part of avoiding food-borne illnesses. If you have any perishable foods like eggs, raw meat, milk, and fish that have been stored for more than two days, it is best to discard them. These high-risk foods should never be reheated or consumed after two days; even if the food still looks and smells safe, it won’t be worth risking your health when you can start fresh with some new ingredients. Before disposing of these items, separate them from other trash and double-wrap them in a plastic bag or container that seals properly so no food particles are left behind.
ConclusionOverall, food safety is more important now than ever to keep us safe and healthy. These 6 steps outlined in this blog post can help mitigate potential food-borne illnesses. Refreshing your understanding of the fundamental principles of food safety and staying current on new guidance is key to remaining safe and avoiding potential risks. Take the necessary steps today to ensure your family’s health tomorrow, read more here
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