The proper food handling procedure is often neglected or overlooked when preparing food in our homes, sometimes it is intentional and sometimes it is unintentional or out of ignorance. There are designed food handling courses which teach the importance and the proper procedures of food handling at home while before, while and after preparing food. Consequences of not following these procedures may lead to various food-borne illnesses some of these illnesses are life threatening.
Following proper storage procedures is very vital. This is because food gets contaminated easily when it is not stored at the right temperature and in the right environment. Raw food products should be kept separately from cooked food. Even as simple as food storage procedures sound, experienced cooks sometimes are negligent to the issue every now and then.
Kitchen utensils and tools used for preparation should be washed properly before and after using them, even while cooking. For example, the knife used to slice raw meat or fish product if not washed properly and used to cut or slice another food product such as vegetables and fruits can be very dangerous. This is because the bacteria transferred by the meat product to the poorly washed knife which would have been killed after cooking it will be transferred to the vegetable of fruits. Having in mind that the fruit or vegetable will not be cooked implies that you will eat the transfer bacteria. That is why is it important to wash kitchen utensils with the right soap and thoroughly too.
Food handling courses teach a few other ways in which cross contamination of food can occur. When cooking a big meal with several pots on the stove; total attention should be paid to the whole process. Kitchen utensils such as spoons used for a pot or meal should not be used for another without washing it. It should be noted that each food needs different temperature to cook properly and most importantly killing the bacteria in it, therefore using the same utensil will transfer bacteria from one meal to another which will mostly still be alive because it wasn’t cooked with the right temperature.
Though you can always wash the kitchen utensils properly before using them for a different meal but it will be more comfortable to have utensils for every food item, for example a chopping board for fish and a different chopping board for meat products.
Storing of each food item in the right place and at the right temperature also prevents food contamination. Cooked food should not be left outside the refrigerator for more 2 hours even less when the temperature is high like during the summer. Frozen food item also needs to be stored in the freezer at all times and not allowed to defrost until time of use. Bacteria can easily transfer from one food item to another in the refrigerator if the food items are stored in the right compartment.
In order to live on a healthy diet we all need to complete a food handling course, it’s vital to our health and to those around us, thus should not be ignored.