Practicing Food Safety: Tips from a Food Poisoning Lawyer
Food Poisoning Lawyer Ron Simon has noted that many of us have had no choice but to change the routines in our daily lives to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the biggest changes that many have experienced is the inability to go out to eat at restaurants like we’re used to, instead taking to cooking at home and preparing their meals in their own kitchens. Although making one’s food is both more economic and, according to some experts, safer, people at times cut corners and ignore very important rules when it comes to food safety.
For this reason, food poisoning lawyer Ron Simon (who has spent years sparing with large commercial operations on the need to force them to adopt and practice much more onerous food safety standards) points consumers to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which has long established simple steps for people to follow regarding food preparation and safety. These simple reminders include the following:
When it comes to food safety, cleaning is one of the most essential steps all home cooks need to take. Making sure that they have washed their hands properly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before they have started cooking and after they have finished needs to be a step nobody should ever forget. Cleaning utensils such as cutting boards, knives and even counter-tops that will be used is a must as it will be the surface that has the most contact with the ingredients. Rinsing ingredients such as fruits and vegetables under running water is very important as well to make sure they are properly cleaned before they are used.
Separating ingredients such as raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs is a step that should never be overlooked when it comes to food safety. Raw meat ingredients have germs that can spread to ready-to-eat foods if not separated. An important point to note that many people don’t realize when cooking is the need to properly separate plates and cutting boards used for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Different types of uncooked meats should always be kept properly separated in refrigerators to make sure that the juices from the meats don’t come into contact with other foods.
Cooking with the Correct Temperatures
The most important rule to remember when cooking meat is that not all meat is cooked at the same temperature. Using the appropriate temperature is very important to kill germs that reside in the meat, the best way to make sure that the proper temperature is being used is to use a cooking thermometer. Under-cooking or overcooking meat can make a person sick and many times depending on the coloring or texture to tell if the meat is thoroughly cooked can be misleading. The most appropriate temperatures to use for different types of meat are:
- 145°F for whole cuts of beef, pork, veal, and lamb (then allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating)
- 160°F for ground meats, such as beef and pork
- 165°F for all poultry, including ground chicken and turkey
- 165°F for leftovers and casseroles
- 145°F for fresh ham (raw)
- 145°F for fin-fish cook until flesh is opaque
Perishable foods should never be left un-refrigerated for more than two hours since bacteria can multiply rapidly in temperatures between 40°F and 140°F. Refrigerators should always be kept at 40°F or below at all times. When thawing frozen food it is important to avoid leaving it on the counter since bacteria can multiply quickly in the parts of the food that reach room temperature.
Cooking is an enjoyable experience that everyone can have fun doing but it is important to always practice proper food safety to keep everyone healthy and safe. It is also important to always stay vigilant for news reports regarding recalled food products since a contaminated product can be dangerous to use when cooking and eating. Practicing proper food safety can be the difference between sharing smiles at the dinner table and a sharing car rushing to the emergency room.