We all want to feel secure in the idea restaurants stick to the highest food safety standards possible. No one wants to think about their food getting sneezed on, dropped on the floor, or being dangerously undercooked. Luckily, those horror stories are few and far between. Most food establishments really do follow strict food safety rules, which is a relief.
The Five-Second Rule
Hopefully, you know that the five-second rule isn’t actually true. If you drop food on the floor, you don’t have five seconds to pick it up. If it hits the floor it’s been exposed to bacteria, so it’s best if you just throw it away.
Cross-Contamination the Fridge
Most people don’t know that you need to keep meat at the bottom of the fridge so that the meat juices don’t drip down of everything else. It is possible for things to get exposed to bacteria in germs in the fridge. That’s why it’s important to keep everything covered, separated properly, and throw away old food.
Fruit & Veggie Bin is Clean
This is an easy mistake to make, especially if you’re in a home kitchen and don’t give your fridge a scrub very often. When you do clean your fridge it’s important to clean every part of it properly. The vegetable drawer often gets forgotten or only receives a quick wipe down, but it needs to be washed with soap and water like everything else.
Rinsing Melons Isn’t Important
You know to wash off things like apples, lettuce, and berries before you cook with them. Did you know that you also need to wash melons and anything else you’re going to cut through? If your knife touches the unwashed surface on the outside and you touch the inside, it’s contaminated.
Vegetarians Don’t Get Food Poisoning
It’s easy to think that you’ll only get food poisoning from improperly cooked meat, but you’d be wrong. Even things as simple as your salad could have been exposed to unwanted bacteria. That’s why it’s important to keep everything clean, separated, and properly stored.
Leftovers Last A Long Time
You might think food lasts longer in your fridge. It’s not sitting out, it’s in an air-tight container, and it’s being cooled so it must be safe, right? Wrong. Leftovers don’t magically last longer. You should follow the recommended keep times on every food in your fridge, including leftovers.
Frozen Food Is Safe
Throwing something in your freezer won’t make it last forever. It can still expire, get freezer burn, or even be exposed to nasty germs. Make sure you keep up with the expiration dates on everything in your freezer and don’t be afraid to throw away food you think has gone bad.
Rinse Raw Chicken
Please don’t rinse off raw chicken in your sink. Raw chicken is infamous for spreading dangerous bacteria that makes people horribly sick. When you rinse it in your kitchen sink the bacteria gets on the actual sink, surrounding dishes or food, and spread in the air with the water’s mist.
Raw Cookie Dough Is Fine
Who doesn’t love a good spoonful of raw cookie dough? Those who have gotten food poisoning from it. Food items that contain cookie dough, like ice cream, have a food-safe version that doesn’t need to be cooked. The kind you make at home is a different story, and you could get salmonella if you eat it.
Rinsing Your Hands Is Fine
Hopefully, you’re aware that you can’t just rinse your hands off and continue cooking. Many people are under the impression that soap and hot water isn’t necessary for every hand-washing, but they’re dead wrong. Keep your kitchen safe and clean by properly washing your hands every time.
Cooked Food Doesn’t Have Bacteria
You might not think about the dangers of cooked food, especially if you only worry about improperly cooked food. Your meal can be cooked through entirely, but if something was exposed to bacteria after the cooking process is over, it can be deadly. You also need to store cooked food correctly, otherwise, it can still make you sick.
Thawing Meat on the Counter Is Safe
Thawing out frozen meat can be a hassle, and it’s tempting to just put it in your sink or stick in on a plate on the counter. This can lead to uneven thawing, bacteria touching the meat, or even cross-contamination in your kitchen. You should thaw meat in a sealed container or plastic bag in the fridge to be safe.
Meat Thermometers are Unnecessary
Some chefs can tell when a steak is cooked just from touching it. Not everyone can be a chef, and even a chef needs help with figuring out if the meat is cooked sometimes. To avoid cutting open undercooked meat on your cutting board or even eating it, get a meat thermometer to be totally sure your food is done.
Marinating Food on the Counter is Safe
Just like with thawing meat on the counter, it’s not safe to marinate it on the counter either. You don’t want anything to get contaminated, so it’s best to keep your marinade in an airtight container on the fridge shelf.
Rice Won’t Give You Food Poisoning
No food is totally safe from the dangers of food poisoning. Even your bowl of plain white rice could have been exposed to bacteria or cooked improperly. Make sure you’re not contaminating anything in your kitchen, or something as simple as rice could make you very sick.
Plastic Cutting Boards Are Safer
You might think that a plastic cutting board is better for raw meat than a wooden one. It actually doesn’t matter. As long as you’re cleaning the cutting board properly after you use it, a wooden one is just as good as plastic.
You Don’t Need to Wash Fruits if You Peel Them
Just like with washing your melons, you need to wash anything you’re going to peel. If your peeler touches the dirty skin on the outside, and then the clean inside, it’s at risk of contamination. Foods like potatoes, oranges, and carrots need to be cleaned before you peel, just as much as berries and apples do.
Food Poisoning Is a Short Stomach Bug
Different types of food poisoning can give you different symptoms. However, getting sick from bad food isn’t always just a few days of throwing up and feeling bad; sometimes it’s much worse. You can become severely dehydrated, be in a lot of pain, or even die from food poisoning.
Cake Batter Is Safe
Cake batter isn’t any safer than cookie dough. It usually contains eggs, which are raw until you bake the cake. Those raw eggs in the cake batter can make you terribly sick if you get a bad one. Do yourself a favor and just eat cake, not the uncooked batter.
If It Smells & Looks Safe, Then It’s Safe
As tempting as it is, you can’t just sniff your leftovers to see if they’re safe to eat. If it looks safe and smells safe, it could still be old or contaminated. Do yourself a favor and throw away anything past its expiration date, even if it still seems fine.