4 Tips for Food Safety at Home
Throughout the agri-food system many steps are taken to keep food products safe for those who purchase and consume them. Food safety is also important once a product has left the retail environment and entered the home. Canadians can take steps to ensure that the food they purchase is stored and prepared in a way that keeps it safe and nutritious.
To prevent contracting food-borne illnesses, keep the following tips in mind about food preparation and storage at home:
- Disinfect hands, utensils and surfaces with hot soapy water before, during and after handling food.
- Sanitize cutting boards and countertops with a mild solution made from water and bleach.
- Ensure that all produce is thoroughly washed before cooking.
- Change cleaning cloths often to avoid spreading bacteria.
- Store meat and poultry away from other food when preparing and storing, as well as when bagging your groceries.
- Use separate cutting boards for meat and produce.
- When it’s time to put food away, keep it covered to prevent any cross contamination or odours.
- Be sure to sanitize plates that held raw meat.
- If you would like to cook with the marinade used for raw meat, ensure that you boil it for one minute before placing on cooked meat.
- Bacteria grow at room temperature, so make every effort to cook as soon as food is taken from storage.
- Cook meat immediately and use an instant read thermometer to make sure that food reaches suggested temperatures. There are different suggested temperatures for poultry and types of meat (e.g. pork, beef, lamb).
- Be sure to refrigerate or freeze any perishable food items within two hours of cooking completion. This includes fresh produce and any food leftover from cooking.
- The recommended temperature setting for your refrigerator is 4°C while your recommended freezer setting is -18°C.
- Thaw food in the fridge, the microwave on defrost setting, or in cold water. If you are thawing foods in water, replace the water every 30 minutes.