Friday, March 12, 2010

Food Safety in the House

My husband is the one who cooks meals while I am the one who wash the dishes.  He practically owns the kitchen, while I practically own the rest of the house (haha!).  Yup, he's the cook...but I'm his trainer.  I was the one who taught him to cook--- adobo, sinigang, and his favorite tinola.  And since he has found a passion for cooking, I just let him do the kitchen thing.  Now, he prepares meals other than what I taught to him (his favorite dish to prepare is Japanese!).  Of course, he searches recipes from the internet.  But the recipe is just the thing he learns.  I believe there's much more to learn about being a chef/cook other than the recipe itself.  One must also be informed about food safety to prevent foodborne illnesses.

I became an employee of a food service company, and I was the one who started to create their manual on Food Safety.  That's why I was very particular in that aspect.  As my husband's "trainer", I always remind him the right way to handle foods so that the meals he would prepare would not just be delicious, but also safe to eat.  He follows my advice...but only for a while.  Probably because he wants his food to be done as fast as he can.  Napapakunot noo nalang ako kapag hindi nya sinusunod yung mga sinasabi ko.  I just tell myself that someday, I'll make him attend cooking classes so that he would learn the importance of food safety rules.

Here is the list of some Do's and Don'ts in handling foods:

1. First rule in cooking: wash your hands!

2. To lessen bacteria in thawing meats, do not soak meat in water.  It's better if you just leave it in a container for few hours at room temperature (but not overnight!) or better yet, place the meat in the refrigerator/chiller overnight.

3. In thawing, place the meat in the lowest part of the refrigerator shelf and away from other foods so that contamination would be avoided.  Remember, raw meats have bacteria in them.

4. Use separate knife and chopping board to chop vegetables and cut meats.  If you only have 1 knife and chopping board, cut first the veggies then the raw meats.

5. Always check the expiration date of the items you buy!

6.  First in, first out rule: use the oldest item first before the ones you recently bought.

7. Avoid placing food on the floor, even though they are in a container or plastic bag.  Dusts and insects could climb on it...you never know.  Place them on the kitchen counter or table.

8.  Store your foods promptly.  For refrigerator storage chart, you can use this link: http://www.homefoodsafety.org/pages/utilities/docs/rf_storage_chart.pdf.  For shelf life of leftover foods, open this link: http://www.homefoodsafety.org/pages/utilities/docs/calculator.pdf.  Wow, I can't wait to print and stick them on our refrigerator!

9.  When purchasing canned and bottled goods, check, not only their expiry date but also their form.  If there are dents, cracks, or other malformations/deformities, do not purchase them.  (Dents can be a sign of chemical reactions in the container which can be harmful to the body).

10.  Keep the kitchen area clean after preparing meals.  This is to avoid insects to crawl all over the place.

For more information on food safety tips, you can visit http://www.homefoodsafety.org/.

Food safety should not just be contained in food service and food manufacturing, but should also be practiced at home.  It's important because our children would eat the foods we personally prepare...and of course, we wouldn't want our children to have foodborne diseases (and we don't want tummy aches on ourselves too!).  The enjoyment of eating is in the hands of the food maker.  I'll make my husband realize that more.

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