Food poisoning can be avoided in many cases…
As everyone comes to terms with the implications of the current pandemic, good hand hygiene practices have been very much to the fore over the last 18 months. But there is one specific type of activity where hand washing is – and always has been an even higher priority, according to a recent report on the Consumer Reports (CR) website. Catering.
Author Trisha Calvo quotes some alarming statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the form of an estimate that 48 million people get some kind of food poisoning every year, with around 3,000 deaths and 128,000 hospitalisations resulting.
CR has issued a list of 8 useful food safety tips, including raw meat storage, rinsing poultry and checking chilled food temperatures.
Hand washing is of course a vitally important activity when it comes to preventing illness. And it’s a message that clearly is not hitting home with enough people – at least according to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) experiment involving the food safety habits of almost 400 people in a test kitchen as they prepared turkey burgers.
“In two-thirds of the instances when the participants should have washed their hands, they didn’t. And even when people did scrub up, very few did so properly.”
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It seems a fair bet that not many people actually realise that germs can easily be spread to salt and pepper pots, and herb and spice containers says the article. Which is why frequent hand washing – done properly – is so important.
“Every time you wash, wet your hands, use soap, and rub vigorously for at least 20 seconds before rinsing your hands in warm running water.”
“Not rubbing hands was the biggest hand-washing mistake people made in the USDA study.”
Minimise the “scrolling”
And one further thing – avoid the temptation to keep returning to your mobile device while cooking. Constantly touching your smartphone or tablet can be responsible for the transfer of all sorts of unpleasant germs to the food you’re cooking.
Research has found that they’re “teeming with bacteria”.
The advice is therefore not to touch them while you’re cooking – or if you do, wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
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