Back to basics (food safety)

We all have that experience when we feel sick from eating something. Could it be because of the ingredients we used? The cook? Methods we used to cook food? This week I’ll be covering food safety – I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining. I’ll touch on the main problems when handling food and the best solutions.

  1. Quality of ingredients: I remember when I was a kid, my mom made me a carrot milkshake. The milk was 1 week old and was slightly sour. I told my mom that but she said “It’s fine a little isn’t too bad”. WRONG! The next day I got a stomach flu and I was sick for a week. Lesson learned. If you think the food has gone bad, discard it. I would rather waste $3 of milk than spend $30 in medication and a week of torture.
  2. Hygiene: This one is a no-brainer but so many people don’t practice it. Some people just dip their hands in water and it’s good. WRONG! Wash your hands under warm water with soap for 20 seconds. Rinse the soap off and dry with paper towels (this is for all you dirty monkeys out there in the kitchen). Especially when you’re sick, as no one wants to catch your sickness.
  3. Cross contamination: This is just a fancy name for the transfer of harmful substances or bacteria to food from other foods, people or surfaces. NEVER mix raw foods with ready-to-eat foods! Also if you’re using equipment that has been in contact with raw foods, please wash before using it for ready-to-eat foods (no one likes to eat a salad that has been prepared on a cutting board that has just been used on raw chicken). Lastly, when you store foods in either the fridge or freezer, DO NOT mix raw foods with cook foods. Raw foods go at the bottom of the fridge or freezer while cooked foods go on top. An example of this is in an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen nightmares when he found cooked ribs on top of raw chicken in the owner’s fridge. NO!
  4. Defrosting: Defrosting foods is sometimes the first step of food preparation and cooking. But making that first mistake can lead to serious illness. Many people use the microwave to defrost meat, but did you know this could be dangerous? Below is a video of Professor Lloyd Sudeyko teaching how to properly defrost meat (he was my professor back when I was at George Brown).
Courtesy of Breakfast Television Toronto

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