The Basics: Proper Food Handling and Sanitation Techniques

Previously when I was only a wee Brandon, I worked as a server in a restaurant in Lee’s Summit, Missouri and ended up being forced to receive a food safety card in order to be able to be employed in the restaurant business.

While I unquestionably did not pay a lot of attention in class, I did understand the significance of not getting people sick from the meal I provided them. Often, housecleaning falls to the bottom on most to-do lists out there (I’m sure I’m guilty of this); however, if there’s a particular spot that you must by no means leave out – it’s the kitchen. I want to go over a few basics right now to help you to keep your kitchen germ-free to make sure you are not giving anybody an awful virus which will leave them running to the bathroom after consuming your meals.

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The easiest way to help keep things clean in your kitchen is definitely chlorine bleach. It’s affordable, simple to use and more importantly efficient, oh so efficient. I like to keep a squirt bottle filled with a bleach solution under my kitchen sink at all times. The proportion of bleach to normal water is extremely important – too much and you’ll have to wash the surface down using a moistened towel afterwards; not enough and you won’t kill all harmful bacteria. I get the ratio directly from the source AKA Clorox and they encourage one tsp. for each quart of normal water. This is definitely sufficiently strong enough to disinfect the countertops, but weak enough that it will not bleach your clothes or kitchen towels. All you need to do is squirt, wipe and leave. I like to clean up and spray down my refrigerator monthly. Also, I will spray down all the cooking areas every single night after I’m done cooking food – this means all of the counter tops, cutting boards and stove-tops.

I would love to take a moment to go over cross contamination because I see it occur a lot. Simply, cross contamination is when you taint one piece of food from the germs coming from another bit of food. The easiest example is that you chop up a chicken on your cutting board and then cut up veggies for your salad on the same board. At this point you have contaminated all of your ready-to-eat food products with salmonella which demands you to either toss them or cook them to at the very least 165°. Instead, the smarter option is to utilize different cutting boards for raw meat and ready-to-eat foods. That is one easy method to get your foodstuffs cross contaminated and one most people know to avoid, but there are plenty of more instances where one can trip up.

How about when you are barbecuing or making meat on the stove-top? Lots of people work with tongs or a spatula as a way to place the meat on there and also to turn it over. As soon as their food is finished, they will use the very same tongs and place the food on the plate for eating. Well, all you’ve done now is take microorganisms and germs from your tongs, put them on a cooked piece of steak and then offered that to an unsuspecting guest. For this reason it is crucial that you have 2 sets of tongs/utensils for your use while preparing food: one just for uncooked foods and one for prepared foods. As you can tell, all it requires is being in a rush or maybe a tiny brain-fart in order to serve up a plate of poultry that has a salmonella gravy.

Oh yeah, I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will: thoroughly clean both your hands, people! Before you begin cooking. Immediately following after handling uncooked meat. Or anytime you touch the trash, dish cloth or sponge or pick your nose. I reduce a lot of hand washing by putting on latex gloves which you can get from Amazon or any community drug store. It is a terrific way to keep everything sanitary without washing both hands 5 times any time you cook.

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