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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tips for Safe Cooking - How to Avoid Food Poisoning

 By: James Smith


Food poisoning is far more common than it should be. True, it can often be difficult to avoid. However, for the main part, straightforward caution and attention are all that is needed to decrease the possibility of any upsetting results.

One of the top food poisoning culprits is seafood. Make sure you keep your seafood refrigerated or frozen at every point. If seafood is kept at room temperature for even a couple of hours, it can already begin growing bacteria. Most seafood should be cooked to about 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure it is cooked thoroughly: raw seafood is extremely dangerous.

The mishandling of meat products can result in E. Coli or Salmonella poisoning. Whether it is chicken, turkey, or steak, make sure you thoroughly rinse your meat products before cooking. Obviously, it is impossible to wash ground meat. Therefore, be careful to cook them properly. Most poultry and beef products should be cooked to 145-165 degrees Fahrenheit. Be very careful if you're cooking for a rare meat lover. Since the meat may not be totally cooked, potentially dangerous bacteria may still be active. Actually, many eateries, in an attempt to avoid legal actions, refuse to cook meat rare.

Also, Salmonella can be present in raw eggs. Do not taste that cookie-dough batter, regardless of how enticing it looks. One moment of pleasure is not worth several painful hours of food poisoning.

E. Coli is present in almost all raw fruits and vegetables. The bacterium usually comes from fertilizers in the soil. Hence, only the exterior of the fruit and veg are affected. The danger can come when a bacterium from the outside is brought in contact with the edible part.

The best way to avoid trouble is to wash everything before cooking and/or eating. All soft fruits and lettuce should be thoroughly rinsed with cold water. Harder food such as melons, potatos and squash should be carefully scrubbed and then rinsed. Produce that is washed properly is completely safe to eat raw.

However, before you rinse, make sure that your sink is clean! If you have just rinsed your Thanksgiving turkey, don't immediately scrub your potatoes. Bacteria from formerly handled foods can sometimes attach to other objects and foods. Make efforts to scour your sink with a sanitizing solution.

Sanitation of your cooking space and utensils is also very important. Never use the same knife for meat that you use for produce. The mixing of bacteria, good or bad, from 2 separate food products can result in food poisoning. Actually, you can purchase color-coordinated knife sets that will help you avoid this problem. Nonetheless, your best bet is to thoroughly wash your knives after each use.

You should wash your counters and cutting boards with a sanitizing solution such as hot water and watered down bleach. You can buy premixed solutions or sanitizing wipes; nevertheless it is much more cost effective to make your own. Read the instructions on the label of each unique sanitizer.

These are some potential tips to help avoid food poisoning however, I am not a medical practitioner, so you should always consult a medical practitioner for health related advice to be sure you are doing the right thing. Avoiding food poisoning should be the number one priority of each cook. A little extra time and attention can save you a lot of upsetting trouble.

Take a look at these links for some recipes with tilapia or some sweet potato recipes.

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