How to Make Sure Food Is Safe to Eat
One of the best ways you can enjoy a delicious meal and not worry if the food is safe to eat is by cooking your own food. When you are buying a ready-to-eat meal from the store, the chances that the food may have been cross-contaminated with bacteria increases. Consumers are becoming concerned about the number of product recalls due to Salmonella or E.coli bacteria outbreaks. Knowing how to properly handle and properly cook food will decrease the risk of suffering from food poisoning.
In this OneHowTo article we share helpful advice on how to make sure food is safe to eat.
Meat and Poultry
Buying a quality protein from your local farmer will not only affect the final taste of the meat but also will also add to the safety guarantee. Once at home, you can store fresh meat in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or you can freeze it in an airtight container for up to 12 months if you are not cooking it any time soon to prevent it from spoiling.
The safest way to eat meat is by cooking it properly. For this we recommend that you use a cooking thermometer that will measure the internal temperature of the meat. Read meat can be eaten from rare to well-done; however, it is important that poultry is cooked thoroughly.
Beef may be served rare by cooking it between 45°C to 50°C (120°F to 125°F), and still be considered safe to eat. Pork must be cooked to at least 63°C (145°F) and poultry to at least 75 °C (165 °F).
Fish and Seafood
Eating fresh raw fish in the form of popular dishes such as sushi or sashimi has quickly become the new favorite food trend. However, one of the biggest concerns is the risk endangered from fish parasites such as Anisakis.
Cooking will kill the parasite so grilling your salmon or baking your sea bass will eliminate the risk. However, for raw food dishes it is recommended and often required that fish is frozen to at least -20°C (-4°F) for not less than 24 hours.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are grown in the ground or up in the trees, which means that it is inevitable that small insects and soil get to the food. While a little bit of soil will not kill us, there are also some bacteria and pathogens oblivious to the eye that must be removed before we eat the food.
To make sure the food is safe to eat you must wash it thoroughly, especially if the fruits and vegetables will be eaten raw. For leafy greens you can discard the outer leaves and perhaps add a little vinegar to the rinsing water. The acidic PH level will kill the pathogens. Also, use a scrubbing brush for foods that have a tougher peel or rind and opt to disinfect it from pesticides.
Frehs fruits and vegetables turn bad very easily so make sure to cook them soon, freeze them or ferment the food so it lasts longer.
Dairy, Eggs and Cheese
Dairy foods are highly perishable foods that can quickly get moldy. To find out if a piece of cheese that you have in the fridge is safe to eat you can first inspect it for any darker color patches or changes in texture. You can also use your sense of smell and if it smells rotten then throw it away immediately.
Pasteurized eggs are the safest choice when preparing dishes with raw eggs or lightly cooked eggs. Take a look at our article on how to know if an egg has gone off for more information.
Many other foods such as legumes, grains and cooking oils are generally considered safe foods and rarely are the cause of foodborne illness. For added safety inspect the boxes at the store for any bruises or cuts and cook them following the instructions set by the manufacturer.
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