Renae Diggles

July 13, 2023

Top 5 Food Safety Tips

Renae Diggles

July 13, 2023

Food safety is an important part of our daily lives, impacting on our health and well-being. Whether you’re a cook, a professional chef, or simply preparing meals for your family, understanding proper food safety practices is essential. So, let’s explore a variety of valuable food safety tips that will help you navigate your kitchen with confidence.

washing vegetables under running water

Washing Fruits and Vegetables

Washing fruits and vegetables before peeling them is an essential part of food preparation. There are many reasons why washing fruits and vegetables before peeling them is crucial for maintaining good health.

Fruits and vegetables can come into contact with all kinds of substances from the farm to our plates. Dirt, dust, pesticides, and harmful bacteria can build up on the surface. Washing them before peeling helps eliminate contaminants, reducing the risk of ingesting them. By taking this simple step, we can enjoy fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables, while reducing the potential health risks associated with consuming unwashed produce. So, the next time you reach for that carrot or kiwi fruit, remember to give it a good wash before peeling, and your body will thank you for it.

Chicken storage

Don’t Rinse Raw Chicken

Once upon a time, people thought that you should rinse chicken under water before preparing it. They believed that it helped to remove bacteria. However, current food safety guidelines recommend that you don’t rinse chicken because of the potential health risks.

When you rinse raw chicken, splashes of water can spread bacteria onto nearby surfaces such as countertops, cross-contaminating them.  Additionally, rinsing chicken under running water isn’t an effective method for eliminating bacteria. Bacteria that’s on the surface of raw chicken can only be killed by cooking it thoroughly (approximately 75°C).

To ensure the safety of chicken during preparation, follow these food safety tips: Store raw chicken separately from other foods, in a leak-proof container on the bottom shelf of the fridge to prevent cross-contamination. Cook chicken to a centre temperature of 75°C to ensure it’s fully cooked. Finally, thoroughly clean bench-tops, cutting boards, utensils and your hands.

cooked pork steak

Follow Food Safety Guidelines When Cooking Pork

There are several factors to consider when deciding whether to consume pink pork. Pork has the potential to carry the parasite Trichinella spiralis, which causes a disease called trichinellosis. It’s found in undercooked or raw pork and is a potential health hazard. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 75°C effectively kills bacteria, ensuring pork safety.

According to the Food Safety Information Council, it’s best to cook pork steaks and pieces to 70°C and roasts to between 70°C and 75°C in the centre. According to Australian Pork, you don’t need to overcook your pork though, for it to be safe.  A little bit of pink pink in the middle is ok, unless it’s mince or sausages (they need to be cooked so that there’s no pink).

frozen mince

Don’t Defrost Food on the Kitchen Bench

Leaving food out of the refrigerator to defrost is a common practice, but it’s important to understand the potential risks and proper food safety guidelines associated with this method. While it is quicker to do this, there are potential hazards that compromise the safety and quality of the food you’re defrosting.

When food is left at room temperature, it creates an ideal environment for bacterial growth, within the temperature danger zone of 5°C to 60°C. This can lead to bacterial growth and increases the risk of food-borne illnesses. It also results in uneven thawing. The outer layers of the food reach warmer temperatures while the inner parts remain frozen, allowing bacteria to grow on the surface. Perishable items including meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy are particularly susceptible to bacterial growth and should never be thawed at room temperature.

To ensure food safety when defrosting food, defrost frozen foods on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator, in a sealed, leak-proof container to prevent cross-contamination. This method ensures that food remains at a safe temperature throughout the process. If you’re short on time, you can defrost foods in the microwave if you’re going to cook them immediately. But, use the microwave’s defrost function, stirring frequently for an even heat distribution.

It’s important to note that guidelines vary slightly depending on the type of food you’re thawing. Always refer to specific food safety recommendations for different types of food, especially for meat, poultry, seafood, and other perishable items.

cooked food in containers

Don’t Put Hot Food in the Fridge

While it may seem practical to refrigerate hot food immediately after cooking, there are several factors to consider in order to maintain food safety and ensure the proper functioning of your refrigerator. Refrigerators are made to maintain a set temperature range to keep food safe. When hot food is placed directly into the refrigerator, the internal temperature of the fridge rises, potentially compromising the quality and safety of other perishable items stored inside.

Cool cooked, hot food as quickly as possible by stirring regularly, and dividing larger portions into smaller containers. Allow hot food to cool down to 21°C before placing it in the refrigerator. A good rule of thumb is to let the food sit for no more than 2 hours on the counter, followed by storing it on a shelf away from raw meats, poultry, or seafood to avoid contamination.

Importance of Following Food Safety Standards

By following these food safety tips, you can maintain food safety, preserve the quality of your stored items, and ensure the proper functioning of your refrigerator. It is essential to prioritise food safety practices to reduce the risk of food poisoning and enjoy fresh, safe meals. It is crucial to practice proper cleaning, sanitation, and food safety measures to ensure the health and well-being of yourself and your family.

For further health tips, go to the Retirement Now Health page. Here, you’ll find advice on nutrition, diet, exercise and healthy ageing.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. The information provided in this article is intended as a guide only. Always refer to Safe Food Australia for the most up to date, mandatory food safety standards.

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