By Marzella Sigai
5 kitchen habits that can cause food poisoning
Food poisoning is all too common these days. While many cases occur when dining out (or eating badly-prepared takeaway food, some cases are actually a result of bad behaviour at home. You may think you’re taking all the right precautions to keep your family safe, but in reality, some of your cooking and food prep habits could harm you and your family.
- Not washing your hands after handling food waste
If you’re guilty of not washing your hands after handling raw meats or dealing with food waste, you could be exposing your family to a greater risk of food poisoning. Neglecting to wash your hands whilst cooking increases the risk of spreading harmful bacteria that’s found on the surface of fresh produce and kitchen surface areas. Taking around 20 seconds each wash, remember to frequently sanitise your hands is one of the best ways to cut your food poisoning risk at home.
- Drying dishes with a tea towel
Just like sponges, tea towels are overused. The tea towel is quick to become contaminated with harmful germs, especially when it’s not cleaned frequently.
Rather than wiping down dishes with a bacteria-infested tea towel, give air-drying a go to minimise the spread of nasty kitchen germs from your towel to your plates.
- Over-packing the fridge
An overfilled fridge will reduce the circulation of cold air, meaning some items in your fridge could actually spoil without you even realising. Be smart and keep food fresher for longer by compartmentalising your fridge into food groups, always keeping raw meat wrapped and at the bottom of the fridge. Also, remember to check your fridge’s temperature regularly.
- Storing leftovers for longer than 24 hours
However, this approach to leftover storage is risky, as meals containing meat, poultry and dairy have a short-lived leftover time. Consuming out-of-date meat is incredibly dangerous as it can contain harmful bacteria that will infect the body. For cold leftovers that have been kept for longer than 24 hours, throw them out or repurpose them with a cooked recipe or reheat them, they are good for up to 48 hours.
- Taking shortcuts when cleaning
Always wipe down benches after cooking and be sure to use hot soapy water or a disinfectant cleaning spray. Regularly change sponge as overused sponges can harbour more germs than a toilet seat. Also remember that knives, utensils and chopping boards that have been used for raw chicken, meats and eggs need to be washed with hot, soapy water to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.