I saw a cartoon recently that teased, and I'm paraphrasing, Forget Salmonella. I'm tasting the cookie dough! I'll admit the dough has almost reached my mouth before my left hand reaches out and struggles to force my right hand to let go of the spoon.
It is easy to become relaxed in our own kitchens and forget the basic tips. Who else hears Ina Garten's voice in their heads, "clean hands", when in the kitchen? Just me? (Yikes!)
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides the fact sheet below with not only those basic tips but links to additional information for safe storage times, safe cooking temperatures, etc. Click on those links to learn more about preventing Salmonella ("food poisoning) in the kitchen.
Mistake #1: Tasting food to see if it’s still good
Why: You can’t taste (or smell or see) the bacteria that cause food poisoning. Tasting only a tiny amount can cause serious illness.
Solution: Throw food out before harmful bacteria grows. Check the Safe Storage Times chart to be sure.
Mistake #2: Putting cooked meat back on a plate that held raw meat
Why: Germs from the raw meat can spread to the cooked meat.
Solution: Always use separate plates for raw meat and cooked meat. The same rule applies to poultry and seafood.
Mistake #3: Thawing food on the counter
Why: Harmful germs can multiply extremely rapidly at room temperature.
Solution: Thaw food safely:
- In the refrigerator
- In cold water
- In the microwave
Mistake #4: Washing meat or poultry
Why: Washing raw meat or poultry can spread bacteria to your sink, countertops, and other surfaces in your kitchen.
Solution: Don’t wash meat, poultry, or eggs.
Mistake #5: Letting food cool before putting it in the fridge
Why: Illness-causing bacteria can grow in perishable foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them
Solution: Refrigerate perishable foods within 2 hours (or within 1 hour if the temperature is over 90˚F.
Mistake #6: Eating raw cookie dough (or other foods with uncooked eggs)
Why: Uncooked eggs may contain Salmonella or other harmful bacteria.
Solution: Always cook eggs thoroughly. Avoid foods that contain raw or undercooked eggs.
Mistake #7: Marinating meat or seafood on the counter
Why: Harmful germs in meat or seafood can multiply extremely rapidly at room temperature.
Solution: Always marinate meat or seafood in the refrigerator.
Mistake #8: Using raw meat marinade on cooked food
Why: Germs from the raw meat (or seafood) can spread to the cooked food.
Solution: You can reuse marinade only if you bring it to a boil just before using.
Mistake #9: Undercooking meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs
Why: Cooked food is safe only after it’s been cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria
Solution: Use the Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures chart and a food thermometer.
Mistake #10: Not washing your hands
Why: Germs on your hands can contaminate the food that you or others eat.
Solution: Wash hands the right way—for 20 seconds with soap and running water.