What are the Best Food Safety Tips?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Food safety guidelines are common sense procedures that make it possible to keep food fresh and fit for human consumption. Many countries impose a number of basic food safety regulations that must be followed in order for commercial food products to be sold to the general public. Many of those basic regulations translate into simple food safety tips that can be used in the home as well. Here are a few examples.

Always keep refrigerated foods in a sealed container.
Always keep refrigerated foods in a sealed container.

Maintaining the proper temperature for food storage is one of the most important of all food safety tips. When food is exposed to excess amounts of heat, bacteria will grow as the food begins to deteriorate. Using any type of meat or vegetables after the process of spoiling has begun can lead to severe gastronomical discomfort and possibly worse.

A chef should wear gloves for food safety.
A chef should wear gloves for food safety.

Even once food has been cooked, temperature is still important. When cooked foods are reheated after being allowed to cool, it is important to make sure they are returned to a proper temperature before serving. Food that is not heated properly can also cause some distress in the form of an upset stomach, diarrhea, or indigestion.

Cutting boards should be sanitized after coming in contact with raw meat.
Cutting boards should be sanitized after coming in contact with raw meat.

In general, two food safety tips related to temperature are very important. First, hot foods must be kept hot. Cold foods must be kept cold. Following these two simple tips will help cut the chances of food contamination significantly.

Serving items at buffet restaurants can easily become contaminated with viruses from so many patrons touching them.
Serving items at buffet restaurants can easily become contaminated with viruses from so many patrons touching them.

Avoiding cross contamination is also one of the more important food safety tips. Cooked food should never be placed on a plate or other dish that recently held raw meat. In like manner, using a cutting board to dice onions or carrots after cutting sections of raw chicken can easily increase the chances for contamination. In order to avoid cross contamination, use a clean dish, wash the cutting board with warm soapy water, and wash all knives before moving from raw meat to vegetables.

Frozen meat should always be defrosted in the refrigerator.
Frozen meat should always be defrosted in the refrigerator.

Leftover storage is another area where many people fail to remember basic food safety tips. Uncovered bowls of leftovers should never be placed in the refrigerator. Always use bowls that are equipped with lids that provide an airtight seal. Freezer bags are superior to other forms of plastic bags if freezing the leftovers. Keep in mind that sealing the foods tightly will help to slow the process of deterioration and make it possible to use the leftovers safely, even if you wait a day or two.

Canned goods need to be properly sealed to prevent bacteria from getting in.
Canned goods need to be properly sealed to prevent bacteria from getting in.

General cleanliness of the food preparation area is something that any food safety manager would consider one of the key food safety tips. By keeping surfaces and cookware clean, foods are not contaminated by dust or other substances that can settle in kitchens that are not maintained properly. In some cases, failing to clean the kitchen before preparing food is as dangerous as cross contamination between foods, since anything could be lurking on cookware, utensils and countertops.

Leftovers may be placed in a resealable bag to keep them fresh.
Leftovers may be placed in a resealable bag to keep them fresh.
Chefs should regularly wash their hands when handling food.
Chefs should regularly wash their hands when handling food.
It is important to store leftovers in resealable containers so they remain fresh.
It is important to store leftovers in resealable containers so they remain fresh.
Ice packs should be included in a sack lunch to keep them fresh until eaten.
Ice packs should be included in a sack lunch to keep them fresh until eaten.
Cooked food should be kept in sealed containers, not sitting open in the refrigerator.
Cooked food should be kept in sealed containers, not sitting open in the refrigerator.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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