Ensuring your food remains a pleasure and not a pain
With a few helpful tips, the spread of germs and bacteria is easily avoided, preserving the flavour, crunchiness, sweetness and freshness of all your favourite foods.
Food is rarely free of germs, but that isn’t usually a problem and in some cases is even beneficial: bacteria, germs and fungus are responsible for fermenting beer, ripening sausages and even forming cheese. Problems only arise with certain types of bacteria that cause food to spoil and can even lead to food poisoning. Pregnant women, the elderly, small children and people with a weak immune system are particularly vulnerable to illnesses caused by gone off food. Whether in a commercial kitchen or a single-person household – certain hygiene rules must be adhered to.
Keeping your groceries germ-free starts in the supermarket. By following a few basic rules when shopping, you can avoid some of the germs that will cause foods to spoil quickly. Add fresh or frozen meat and fish to your shopping cart as late as possible, and try to maintain the cooling chain by transporting chilled or frozen foods home in a cooler bag. Once home, store the oldest groceries in the front to be able to reach them more easily and use them up quickly.
Always wash your hands before working with food, ideally with warm water and soap, and don’t forget to clean between your fingers and under your finger nails. Kitchen towels, sponges and cloths should be exchanged regularly and washed as hot as possible to kill any germs and bacteria. To wipe up any fish blood or meat juices, it’s best to use paper kitchen towels, as these can be thrown away straight after use.
Cleaning all kitchen equipment straight after use should become an integral part of your kitchen hygiene routine. In order to avoid cross contamination, knives, chopping boards and the work surface should be cleaned in between uses if you are using them for meat, fish or vegetables.
When food is heated to the correct temperature, any germs or bacteria are killed off. Meat should be heated to at least 70°C for a minimum of two minutes and poultry in particular must be cooked thoroughly. Fruit and vegetables must be washed under running water and peeled if necessary. Once washed, food must be dried properly to inhibit the growth of microorganisms caused by dampness.
Hygiene is not only vital while preparing food. A few rules should also be observed when storing your groceries. Never store raw meat next to vegetables or fruit in the fridge. The fridge itself should also be cleaned regularly. Always cover any leftover meals so they aren’t contaminated with germs from flies and keep any pets away from your food. Defrosting meat from frozen means slowly at room temperature until completely thawed, ideally in a sieve in the sink so the melted water can drain away.
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