Effective Home Food Safety Practices: Part I

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At some point in our cooking experience, we’ve probably come across a time we rinse our poultry and meats in the sink. It’s been a common practice for some of our older relatives, but is it really a safe practice?

Show Notes:

1.40 min          Should we wash chicken?
7.35 min          Food prep equipments.
8.38 min          Washing fruits and vegetables.
14.10 min        Cooking each types of meat.
19.40 min        Storing leftover food.

Foodborne Illnesses

Foodborne illnesses can be deadly and cause major discomforts and treacherous hours of curling up in a ball of pain by the toilet.

People who are at higher risk of getting foodborne illnesses are the elderly and young who may have a weaker immune system.

That will also include people who may have their immune compromised by certain medications of diseases.

We have to eat everyday, meaning everyday we have to put food in our mouths, therefore what can make food unsafe is the food being contaminated by either pathogens, chemicals, or foreign objects that end up in the food due to poor preparation and handling.

Biological Contamination Causing Foodborne Illnesses

A well known cause would be from biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. All can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, fever, nausea, cramping, and even jaundice.

The focus for this episode will be on bacteria as they are found almost everywhere.

Bacteria can grow exponentially and fast in there correct conditions, and for some bacteria, even a small amount ingested can cause major illness.

Should We Wash Our Chicken?

As a dietitian and passionate cook, my professional answer is “NO!”

The only way to kill off these bacteria is to use high heat for an extended amount of time. Temperature during storage, cooking, saving and reheating is critical to suppressing bacterial growth.

Bacteria, once they find a home on there desired surface, they will have created a film making sure they maintain latched on.

No amount of rinsing or washing is going to sparkle clean the chicken breast.

What we end up doing instead is spreading the bacteria around our sink, our hands and then everything we touch thereafter.

Once prepping the meat is done and we move on to prepare produce, the work area will already be contaminated.

Even if we use hot water to rinse, the water will have to be boiling hot and be in contact with the meat for at least 15 seconds to do and damage. At this point you are cooking the meat.

Therefore, rinsing and and washing chicken is not a safe practice in the kitchen, pretty much unnecessary.

How To Cook Poultry

Poultry, including ground and whole, turkey or duck, requires a minimum internal cooking temperature of 74 degrees celsius (165 degrees fahrenheit) for at least 15 seconds. Compared to other meats and seafood, poultry requires the highest temperature.

No need to cook the chicken to death, but investing in a meat thermometer can help safely cook the chicken and still leave it being juicy and tender.

Safe food practice is not to be looked over. We eat everyday and we observe people making our food everyday.

Food safety is prevention and sometimes old habits can be changed in light of new realization.

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