Emergency Food Supply

Food Preparation Safety Dont Make These Common Mistakes That Could Make You Sick

Basic Food Safety Practices

Food prep is a big part of food safety, but it's often overlooked. To stop food-borne diseases which can be bad for health, it's essential to handle food safely. Here's some mistakes to dodge in the kitchen for food safety:

  • Cross-contamination between raw and cooked food.
  • Not washing hands before and after handling food.
  • Not washing fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Not storing food at the right temperatures.
  • Not cleaning kitchen surfaces regularly.
  • Not checking expiration dates on food.

Wash hands with soap and warm water

Food safety is vital, especially when cooking for yourself and your family at home. Washing your hands with soap and warm water is a simple and effective way to keep food safe. Bacteria can be found on the surfaces of fruit, veg, meats, poultry, and fish, so it's essential to use warm soapy water. Wash utensils between different foods, and increase the temperature of water when cooking chicken and vegetables. Dry your hands with a clean paper towel or an air dryer, and remember that preventative measures should still be taken during natural disasters like floods or hurricanes.

Taking preventative measures helps maintain health and reduces the risk of consuming contaminated foods.

Clean and sanitize surfaces

Keep all work surfaces, cutting boards, utensils, and equipment clean and sanitized. Especially when preparing food that won't be cooked like salads or uncooked fruits/veggies.

Start by wiping down surfaces with hot, soapy water. Rinse with clean water. Do this after every ingredient and between foods.

Sanitize kitchen tools. Soak knives, strainers, and cutting boards in chlorine bleach for 1 minute. Or wash in hot water with 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach. Let air dry before reusing.

Wooden cutting boards: Soak overnight in chlorine bleach/water solution every two weeks. Replace if scratched or worn out.

Doing these steps will help prevent food contamination and keep you safe.

Separate raw meats from other foods

Raw meats must be isolated from other foods. It is vital to stop any cross-contamination which could cause food poisoning. The FDA and USDA explain that it is important to keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs away from ready-to-eat foods. Remember this when shopping, storing, and preparing meals.

When you store items at home, raw meats should be placed on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. When preparing, always use different plates and cutting boards for raw food. Remember to wash utensils with hot soapy water between uses. Additionally, make sure to clean all fruits and vegetables before eating, particularly if they have come into contact with raw meat.

Temperature Control

Temperature control is a must for food safety. Heat foods to an internal temp of 165°F or more. Cool and refrigerate at 40°F or lower. If temperatures aren't managed, foodborne illnesses can occur. So pay attention to temperature when cooking up your meal.

Refrigerate food promptly

Food should be cooled quickly. 40°F (4°C) or below is the ideal temperature for your fridge. Use shallow containers of stainless steel or glass to store leftovers. Organize shelves based on expiration dates. Clean surfaces with detergent and water after handling raw foods.

  • Practice good hygiene when handling food items in the fridge.
  • Keep food safe from contamination.
  • Maximize freshness for stored items.
  • Find what you need quickly.

Check food temperatures with a thermometer

Using a food thermometer is the only sure way to tell if food is cooked safely. Color, feel and smell can't be trusted, so use a thermometer. Check in several places. Pick the right thermometer for the food. Dial ovenproof thermometers measure temps for long times, digital instant-read thermometers show readings quickly, without leaving in the food.

Recommended internal temps are:

  • Ground beef and pork: 160°F (71.1°C)
  • Poultry: 165°F (73.9°C)
  • Fish: 145°F (62.8°C)
  • All others: 145°F (62.8°C)

Avoid cross-contamination

Prevent cross-contamination when dealing with raw food to guarantee food safety. Cross-contamination means the bacteria on one surface or food gets transferred to another. It can happen while prepping food, storing, or even serving. For instance, if raw chicken juices drip onto a plate of heated cut vegetables, the heat won't kill the bacteria in the juices. At most, it may slow down the growth of certain bacteria.

Besides stopping cross-contamination through proper preparation techniques, monitoring temperature control is also essential for safe cooking temperatures. Foods can contain dangerous microorganisms such as E. coli and salmonella. They are destroyed when cooked at an appropriate temperature for a set amount of time (usually 165 Fahrenheit or 73 Celsius). Utilize digital thermometers to make sure all food is cooked properly and reaches its secure internal temperature before eating or serving at a gathering; this includes reheated leftovers!

Food Storage

Food storage is essential to staying away from foodborne sickness. It doesn't matter if you're in a professional kitchen or at home. Knowing the right temperature ranges, storage approaches and food life-span can keep foodborne disease at bay.

Let's avoid some usual food storage blunders:

Store food in airtight containers

Airtight containers are a must-have for keeping food fresh and preventing cross-contamination between different dishes. You can find containers made of plastic, glass, stainless steel, or silicone. Think about the food you need to store, and choose the right material – acidic food like tomatoes should be kept in glass instead of plastic. Check if the plastic lids are BPA-free too!

These containers come in lots of shapes and sizes, so you can pick the best one for what you need – individual portions with leakproof lids are great for storing snacks or meal preps. Airtightness keeps bacteria away and preserves freshness much better than other types of containers. With these tools, you'll never have to worry about your food spoiling. Enjoy!

Label food with expiration dates

Label food with expiration dates. It is important for food safety. It helps keep food fresh and stops food from staying on the shelf too long.

When buying food, look for “Use by” or “Best By” dates. Canned goods should also have an expiration date.

Label home-cooked food with a date if it will be stored for more than three days. This is how long it can stay in the refrigerator or freezer. Use tape or labels on frozen food like fruit, veggies, cooked leftovers, and raw meat. According to FDA guidelines, it should stay safe for around 30-90 days.

Rotate the food in your refrigerator. Use perishable food before nonperishable and older items before newer ones. Label leftovers with a date too. They should be used or thrown out within 3-5 days. Check FDA guidelines for any food with different guidelines.

Do not store food in warm areas

Food must be stored at the proper temperature to avoid bacteria growth. Keep food in a cool, clean, dry place. No dust, insects, or other contaminants.

  • Meats, eggs, and dairy: fridge or freezer.
  • Breads, pastries: room temp.

Don't store food near a stove, oven, or other heat source. Hot temps make bacteria multiply quickly, causing food spoilage or illnesses such as salmonella or E. coli poisoning. Keep storage containers closed when not in use. Re-use only if cleaned with soap and hot water. Don't leave food at room temperature more than two hours, since bacteria will quickly multiply.


Cooking can be a great way to make yummy dishes. But, there are lots of food safety things to remember. This article shows some mistakes people make when cooking. So, we'll look at how to keep your family safe and well. Let's learn how!

  1. Always wash your hands before and after handling food.
  2. Keep raw food separate from cooked food.
  3. Make sure food is cooked thoroughly before eating.
  4. Store food at the right temperature.
  5. Throw away expired food.

Cook food to the correct temperature

Cooking food correctly is crucial for food safety. The only guaranteed way to do this is by using a food thermometer. Bacteria can be killed at the right temp.

Use a clean thermometer when checking the doneness of meat/poultry & wipe it off with a cloth/paper towel before each use. Measure from the thickest part. Don’t rely on visual cues; trust your thermometer!

  • Poultry should reach 165°F, while beef & pork should reach at least 145°F.
  • Ground meats need to be cooked to 160°F.
  • Large pieces of meat like roasts & pork should be 145°F (followed by a 3-minute rest).
  • Fish should be cooked to 145°F and shellfish should be pearly & opaque.
  • Leftovers should be reheated until steaming hot (165°F or lower for delicate proteins like fish).

Use separate cutting boards for raw meat and vegetables

Protect yourself from foodborne illnesses by avoiding cross-contamination. Use one cutting board for raw meat and another for veggies and cooked ingredients. Disinfect the boards and other surfaces with warm soapy water when done. Also, wash hands before and after handling raw foods.

Temperature control is also important. Store perishable foods below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Get a refrigerator thermometer to check the temperature. Keep it between 33 and 39 degrees. Leftovers can stay in the fridge up to four days or two weeks in the freezer.

Some meats, like chicken, may appear cooked on the outside but can still carry bacteria. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature. Make sure it reaches a safe minimum before consuming.

Avoid tasting food while cooking

Cooking safe, nutritious meals is all about how you prepare and handle food. Here are some tips to stop food poisoning:

  • Don't taste food while cooking, except cake mix. Use disposable wooden spoons or spatulas instead.
  • Clean up spills right away with hot soapy water.
  • Check recipes before cooking and use a reliable food thermometer. This will ensure meals are delicious and free from bacteria!


Food safety is essential! To reheat it correctly, you must know how. If done wrongly, it can be dangerous. Let's look at the potential risks of reheating and how to avoid them:

  • Potential risks of reheating
  • How to avoid them

Reheat food to the correct temperature

Reheating leftovers is a great way to save time in the kitchen. But, when not done properly, it can make you very ill. Bacteria can grow on food that is left out too long and contaminate other foods when reheated incorrectly.

To guarantee food safety and quality, all cooked food must be heated to at least 165°F before eating. Use an oven, stovetop or microwave. However, microwaves are not as reliable as conventional methods, so use a thermometer to check the temperature of the dish.

Refrigerated and frozen foods should be reheated or thawed before cooking and brought back up to heat within 2 hours of preparation. Following these guidelines will help reduce your risk of foodborne illness from improper reheating practices.

Use a thermometer to check food temperatures

To heat food correctly and avoid any harmful bacteria, use a thermometer. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests an internal temp of 165°F for leftovers. For pork, beef, and poultry the internal temperature should reach 145°F, and for other types of cooked meats, it should reach 165°F.

Chef’s should use a food thermometer. But other factors like how hot the food is, how long it takes to cook, and how quickly you eat it, also play a role.

Food shouldn't be left out above 40°F/4°C for more than two hours. Keep prepared items separate from raw meat and seafood when storing in the refrigerator, as contact with raw products can contaminate your ready-to-eat items.

Do not reheat food multiple times

Don't reheat food multiple times! Bacteria can form each time which can make you very ill. If you buy from a restaurant or takeout, only reheat once at home.

To avoid this, divide leftovers into small portions and put in separate containers for refrigeration. Use them within 24 hours. If it's already refrigerated from before, heat until it reaches 165°F (74°C) and eat immediately – don't leave it out for more than an hour.

When using the microwave, use a microwavable container so all areas heat evenly – stir every two minutes. When transferring cooked food to plates, use clean utensils and dishes to avoid introducing bacteria.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the most common mistake people make when preparing food?

A1: The most common mistake people make when preparing food is not properly washing their hands with soap and water before and after handling food.

Q2: What is the importance of washing vegetables and fruits before consuming them?

A2: Washing vegetables and fruits is important because it helps to remove dirt, germs, and pesticides from the surface of the produce. It is also important to use a clean cutting board and utensils when preparing food.

Q3: What is the safest way to store food?

A3: The safest way to store food is to keep it in airtight containers or bags in the refrigerator or freezer. Food that is stored at the proper temperature will stay fresh longer and is less likely to become contaminated.

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