Food Safety Mistakes That Cost You: Part Two
Who can resist a home cooked summer-time feast? Well, if your mealtime ends in food poisoning or worse, you'll wish you did. In part one of Food Safety Mistakes that Cost You, we provided you with tips on how to shop effectively, package your food safely and how to properly store your food in the fridge. Now we're back with part two, which will show you how to stay healthy while you get the most of out your dollar.
Mistake #4 Ruining a good bargain.
Buying in bulk or economy-sized portions is a great way to stretch your dollar. However, improper food handling kills the savings. Take olive oil for an example, the larger the container, the better the value (in most cases). But, if you don't completely wipe off the spout then you've allowed the oil to go rancid, and will contaminate your food each time you use the tin. To avoid this, wipe the spout completely dry with a clean,dry cloth. Also make sure the container is sealed tightly so that harmful chemicals can't get in.
Mistake #5 Bad defrosting techniques.
Running hot water on frozen protein is not a good idea because while the outside may have thawed the inside may still be frozen. Instead, try a cold water rinse. If it's possible plan your meals at least the night before. If you need to defrost a protein, it's best to defrost it in the fridge. You'll avoid the "danger zone" and allow yourself the opportunity to refreeze your food, if necessary. That said, about 23% of fridges are not set to a cold enough temperature. Ideally, you need to set your fridge to 40°C (104°F) or below.
Mistake #6 Not properly cleaning utensils.
Food safety is compromised when you don't wash your hands with soap and water and when you don't clean utensils thoroughly with warm soapy water.
Mistake #7 Having too much faith in sanitizers.
Sanitizers are poor cleaners because they don't properly clean debris and grime from a surface. Slapping on hand sanitizer will only seal in those germs. Gross. They do, however, reduce the number of microorganisms to safe levels. Nevertheless, it is very important to always practice good personal hygiene.
Mistake #8 Using colour as an indicator.
Don't guess. Know. The best way to know if your protein has been fully cooked is to use a thermometer (digital is best). To get a reading, simply insert it sideways and place in the centre of the protein.
Take note of the following temperature ranges:
- Pork, veal, eggs, and fish 63°C (145°F )
- Ground beef/veal/lamb and injected meats 68°C (155°F )
- All poultry, stuffed meats and stuffing containing meat 74°C (165°F )
Mistake #9 Under cooking a turkey.
As mentioned in mistake #8, all poultry should be cooked at 74°C (165°F ). However, in the case of turkey, Health Canada recommends that turkeys be cooked at a minimum temperature of 85°C (185°F ).
To ensure that your turkey has been properly cooked insert a digital thermometer into the thick part of the turkey and avoid touching any bones.
Mistake #10 Under baking cookie dough.
For some, licking cookie batter off of your fingers is a delightful experience. Not so if you get Salmonella. Make sure you bake your cookies and other baked goods thoroughly. Uncooked cookie dough, batters and icing may contain Salmonella bacteria. So, think twice about licking that tempting batter.