May 24, 2024

Common Kitchen Food Safety Mistakes

Researchers at Institute of Food Technologies have released information on the five most common food safety mistakes consumers make in their kitchens. The team videotaped 120 consumers as they prepared a chicken and a salad at home. Most consumers felt they were handling and cooking the food correctly, but many made critical mistakes.

Pregnant Woman in the KitchenThe first was not washing hands before starting to prepare food. Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before starting to cook, and dried with a paper towel, not a cloth towel that can become contaminated.

The second mistake was washing chicken. When chicken is washed under running water, the bacteria aerosolizes and spreads up to 3 feet away. The bacteria then ends up in the sink and surrounding countertops, and some may end up on you.

Many consumers do not use a thermometer to test doneness. Chicken must be cooked until 165°F to be safe to eat. The only way to make sure the chicken is at that temperature is to use a food thermometer. Color of the flesh and juices is not a reliable indicator of doneness.

The fourth mistake was setting the refrigerator at improper temperatures. One of the refrigerators in the home kitchens was 60°F, and almost 15% were 45°F. Refrigerators should always be at most 40°F and freezers should be at 0°F or colder. Not many refrigerator controls show the temperature of the appliance, so using a freestanding appliance thermometer in the fridge and freezer is essential to kitchen safety.

Finally, the fifth mistake was rewashing bagged, pre-washed lettuce. This product does not need to be rewashed, since you may add bacteria to greens that were clean, especially if the sink and cutting board are not newly cleaned and sanitized.

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