Last Updated on June 5, 2020
Food poisoning is rather uncomfortable, but the truth is that it can happen to anyone. People who get food poisoning can experience symptoms as long as 24 hours after consuming contaminated or spoiled food.
The most common symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, an upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting. However, there are some precautions you can take to avoid getting food poison.
1. Always Wash Your Hands
Personal hygiene is important to maintain your general health, and washing your hands is essential if you don’t want to get or spread bacteria and viruses. Dirty hands can be a vehicle for germs and disease, and it’s extra important when you are cooking food.
Use soap and water, and be sure to wash your hands before you start your chef’s journey thoroughly. Also, be sure to wash them well after touching raw food, like vegetables and meat, and after touching other dirty items, like the bin, for example.
2. Wash The Surfaces On Your Kitchen
If you are preparing your food on top of different surfaces in your kitchen, like a counter or a table, be sure to clean them thoroughly before you get started, and even during the process of cooking.
If you handle raw meat and raw fish in your kitchen island, be sure to clean the surface before you put any other food items on it, or else you can end up with contaminated food. You don’t need any fancy products, just warm water with soap will do the trick.
3. Wash Your Dishcloths
Dirty dishcloths and towels can be among the many causes of food poisoning. Think about it – you use a towel to clean your dirty hands after you peel a potato.
Then, you wash your hands a clean them, using the same towel. Was the towel clean? Not really. Not to mention that a moisty towel or a damp dishcloth is heaven for bacterial development, and if you clean your hands to it and then handle food, there is a risk of food poisoning.
4. Use Different Cutting Boards For Different Foods
Home-cooked food is delicious, but preparing a meal can be a piece of work. Sometimes you will try to save time and use the same chopping board to cut your fish and to cut your veggies, for example.
It will save you some time washing dishes, you think. But have you ever considered that you could be contaminating your food? Especially if you are going to eat some of that food raw! So always wash your cutting board if you need to use it to cut a different food item, ore use different boards for different foods.
5. Keep Raw Meat Separated From Your Ready-To-Eat Foods
Raw meat can carry a lot of disease-causing bacteria, and that’s why you should cook food thoroughly. But when the meat is still raw, it is essential to keep it away from other foods, especially the ones you are not going to cook, like bread or even salad.
Bacteria from your meat may contaminate the salad, and since you are not preparing a salad, you are not killing the bacteria.
6. Keep Raw Meat On The Bottom Shelf Of Your Fridge
Again, since raw meat contains bacteria, it is important to store it in a place on the fridge where it doesn’t come in contact with other food items.
Plus, keeping it on the lowest shelf will prevent any dripping from happening, thus preventing the contamination of other foods you might have on your fridge.
7. Always Cook Your Food Properly
Whether it’s fish, meat, or veggies, it is important to cook all food thoroughly to make sure you kill off all the bacteria. Frozen food, especially meat, will carry fewer bacteria than fresh meat, but you still need to cook it properly.
Experts also recommend that you don’t wash your meat before you cook it because there is a risk of spreading bacteria in your kitchen.
8. Watch The Temperature Of Your Fridge
To ensure the perfect preservation of the food you have stored in your fridge, you need to pay attention to the thermometer. The ideal fridge temperature is 5C or below.
Plus, to guarantee that the air circulates properly inside your fridge, you should avoid overstocking it with food, since this can influence the temperature as well. Higher temperatures promote the growth of harmful germs, even in adequately stored food, increasing your risk of getting food poisoning.
9. Put Your Leftovers In The Fridge
It’s essential not to waste food, so if you have any leftovers from a meal, you can always store them in a proper container and save them for later. However, if you don’t want to get food poisoning, you should make sure to refrigerate the leftovers properly.
This means that you should put them in the fridge as soon as the food is cold enough, which should never take longer than 90 minutes. If you plan on eating the leftover food in one or two days, you can store it in the refrigerator, and it will still be good for consumption.
However, if you want to eat it some other time, you should store it in the freezer, and when you decide to defrost it and to eat it, put it inside your fridge overnight, so it defrosts slowly.
10. Respect Expiration Dates
The use-by dates that you see on food packaging aren’t there just by chance – they are based on scientific testing that predicts how long it will take for that food item to start developing bugs that can harm your health.
So even if the food smells nice and looks nice, maybe you should trust the experts on this one. However, food waste is a real issue, and you can avoid it by paying attention to the expiration dates on the products on your pantry and make an effort to consume them before they go bad. Your stomach will thank you, and so will planet Earth!