The prime function of the kitchen is to prepare and serve food, yet one in six Americans still get sick each year due to foodborne illnesses.
What’s more, the US Food and Drug Administration reports that over a hundred thousand of these affected individuals will end up in hospital.
Although you may be aware of some of the kitchen basic safety concerns and have the best cookware on the market, there are some other ways you can ensure that you don’t serve up a plate of food that could make you sick.
Utensils And Safety
Cross-contamination is worryingly easy to incur if you don’t follow some basic food handling guidelines.
Washing your hands before you handle food is a given, but utensils need to be handled with care. There are many places in the kitchen that germs can lurk, the refrigerator being the main culprit.
Cutting boards are also something to be wary of. Cutting boards should be thoroughly washed before use, and if you can, use a separate one for seafood, raw meat, and other produce.
If the cutting boards have excessive grooves or are particularly worn, then invest in new ones, as they can be difficult to effectively clean.
Always use clean plates and cutlery, and don’t put cooked food on a plate or board that has had raw meat on it.
Don’t Wash Chicken
Research at Drexel University shows that washing chicken before we cook it can be very dangerous.
Raw chicken may have bacteria on its surface, and so if you wash it under running water in your kitchen sink, the bacteria can splash over you.
It also has the potential to reach kitchen towels, countertops, taps, the sink, and other nearby areas, which can result in sickness.
Instead of using water to remove bacteria, allow the cooking process to kill any present bacteria. Just ensure you wash your hands after transferring the raw chicken into the cooking pan.
Beware Of Kidney Beans
Red kidney beans are a cooking staple, and are filled with protein, iron, and fiber. However, if you don’t cook them properly, they can be toxic.
This is because dried red kidney beans contain a toxic protein lectin called Phytohaemagglutinin (
This sounds straightforward, but if you use a slow cooker, it may be that they don’t reach the required temperature to lose the PHA.
Eating as few as four beans which contain PHA can cause diarrhea, gastrointestinal illness, and vomiting.
Leftovers And Temperature
Get the temperature wrong around food and it could become a breeding ground for yeast, bacteria, and mold.
Refrigerate what you are likely to eat over the next three to five days, and freeze the rest within two hours of cooking.
If you reheat leftovers, make sure they reach 165 degrees before eating. When freezing leftovers, ensure they are stored in clean, shallow containers to prevent any harmful bacteria from being able to multiply.
Whether you’re cooking for your family, yourself or for guests, you need to ensure you are cooking safely.
Follow the obvious guidelines of ensuring fresh produce is within the sell-by date and making sure your refrigerator is spotless, and ensure that germs don’t hide in your microwave or oven.
Take pride in your kitchen and your cooking areas, and always keep them clean for the safest results.