- Safe food preparation at home is just as important as it is in a restaurant. Food borne illnesses are diseases transmitted to people through food and can occur when foods are not properly handled.
- Some common food borne diseases include E. coli (Escherichia coli) and Salmonella, and there are some easy ways to prevent these and other types of illnesses from occurring at home, including:
- Washing your hands thoroughly and frequently is critical for preventing food borne illnesses.
Cleaning & Sanitizing
- Cleaning and sanitizing is a two-step process, and although it’s important to have a clean kitchen all the time, it is recommended that any surface that comes in contact with food is also sanitized. In the cleaning process, equipment/utensils and surfaces must be washed and rinsed with soap or detergent.
- Once they are clean, wipe them down with a sanitizer, such as a bleach-based solution, and let them air dry. It is essential to clean and sanitize frequently and between tasks to prevent cross contamination. Proper sanitizing solution levels (approximately 100 ppm) can be made by mixing one cap full of bleach to one gallon of water. Do NOT store cleaning supplies around food.
Cross contamination occurs when microorganisms are transferred from one food or surface to another.
Ways to prevent cross contamination include:
- Hand washing
- Proper Cleaning and Sanitizing
- Storing raw foods underneath ready to eat foods in the fridge (to prevent the raw food from leaking onto the other)
- Washing and sanitizing cutting boards after preparing meat
Thermometers – A thermometer is one of the most important pieces of equipment in a healthy kitchen. Use a thermometer to check temperatures for:
- Internal Cooking (typically meat)
- Hot and Cold Holding (when storing foods that are ready for service)
- Refrigerator and Freezer temperatures (to make sure they are set at proper levels)
- Reheating and Cooling
It is never safe to thaw food at room temperature. Instead, there are four safe ways to thaw food, including:
• In the refrigerator at 41° F (5° C) or lower
• Submerged under running water 70° F (21° C) or lower
• In the microwave if cooking food immediately
• As part of the cooking process
Check out our blog post on safe thawing here.
Foods require different minimum internal cooking temperatures to ensure that they are safe to eat. Research this information before cooking your food. Click here for recommended minimum temperatures Proper Holding Temperatures
Microorganisms present in potentially hazardous food can grow and cause illness if foods are not held at proper temperatures while waiting to be served. Keep cold food at 41° F (5° C) or below, and hot foods at 135° F (57° C) or higher.
It is very important to get foods through the temperature danger zone as quickly as possible by using proper cooling procedures, such as ice paddles or ice-water baths. Refrigerators are not designed to cool hot food quickly; they are designed to keep cold food cold. For in-depth cooling instructions, click here for recommended cooling procedures.
Previously cooked foods must be reheated to an internal temperature of 165° F (74° C) for 15 seconds within 2 hours.
For more information of this and other issues, check out our list of Educational Brochures.
If you have any questions please contact us at:
Environmental Health Services
215 West Mendenhall, Rm 108, Bozeman