Surprising food safety tips to keep your kitchen safe

Writer: Nicholas Karsen
Published: Updated:

Foodborne illness typically happens when you eat foods that have been contaminated due to unsafe handling. A severe case of foodborne illness can land you in the hospital or worse.

You may know the basics of food safety, but here are a few surprising food safety mistakes that you might not know about.

Even if you’ve washed your hands, produce and utensils before cooking, have you washed your reusable grocery bags? Researchers found uncooked meat juices on 41% of grocery bags. Not washing your reusable grocery bag can spread bacteria to the rest of your food before even leaving the store.

Another mistake you could be making is not sanitizing your kitchen counter. Listeria can stay on kitchen counters for up to six days. Wiping down your counters will not get rid of the bacteria. You will need to use a disinfecting spray and let it sit long enough to kill the germs.

Joe Kivett, author of “The Food Safety Book” has this to say about putting raw meat into the refrigerator. “You’ve got that package of chicken, and let’s say you put it on the top shelf, and it starts to leak, and now it’s leaked into your produce drawer,” Kivett said. To prevent this, wrap the meat in an additional plastic bag, then store in the bottom of the fridge.

Another food safety tip is to never leave food out for too long. “The key thing to remember is make sure that food is not in the danger zone for more than two hours. the danger zone is temperatures between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F,” said Kevitt.

One more food safety mistake to avoid: not washing fruits and vegetables with unsafe skins.
The FDA found Listeria on the skins of 17% of avocados they tested, which can transfer to the edible pulp of the avocado when cutting or peeling.

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