JACKSONVIlle, Fla – Every year food poisoning affects one in six Americans and causes about 3,000 deaths; but it’s completely preventable. In reality, not following simple food-handling practices at home can be a recipe for disaster. A study from Kansas State University found that 90% of home chefs drop the ball when it comes to food safety.
Do you have a food thermometer at home? Better question: do you actually use it? A recent study found that less than 10% of people who own a food thermometer use it. The USDA recommends consumers use a thermometer to limit the risk of salmonella and other pathogens from being in their meats and poultry if they are not properly cooked.
Another thing people should do is separate the food and be careful of cross contamination. Use separate cutting boards for meats and produce to ensure that germs from raw meat are not getting into your salad.
What about storing your food? The Kansas State study found that only 18% of people correctly stored raw poultry in the refrigerator. It is important to keep your refrigerator below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and refrigerate foods promptly.
Joe Kivett, author of “The Food Safety Book” and food safety expert said, “The key thing to remember is make sure food is not in the danger zone for more than two hours. The danger zone is temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees.”
Those are temperatures that can allow bacteria to grow on your food and cause food borne illness. Furthermore, washing your hands seems like the simplest of all tasks, but the Kansas State researchers found that people tracked contaminations all over the kitchen and the house when cooking.
“People think I’m at home, it’s my house, and I don’t need to wash my hands all the time. But there are so many things, you go to change a baby’s diaper and you came back to the kitchen or you go to the bathroom and you came back,” Kivett said.
So wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and that can save you from being sick hours later.
Joe Kivett also said that if you get food delivered from the now popular meals kit services, like Blue Apron or Plated, to make sure the package is not damaged and the meals are not in the danger zone for more than two hours.
For more information on local restaurant inspections go to http://www.rcswebsite.com/