Men in the Kitchen: Don’t Skimp on Safe Food Handling

Most adults have cooked their entire lives and know their way around the kitchen.  However, some men are new to the kitchen and are finding it a necessity to pitch in with the cooking.  You may even be enjoying yourself and wondering why you didn’t join in the food preparation a long time ago!  I love doing it and really enjoy that my wife realizes cooking is not her “job” any more.

What men need to know is that as people age they are more at risk from food contamination.  It can become more difficult to stay safe because with age our immune systems slow down which can put people at risk for getting sick from contaminated foods. We slow down physically, tire easily and have poorer vision which can affect how we handle food.  Sometimes improper food handling can lead to food borne illnesses which have the potential to be serious if not fatal. There are a few areas to become more aware of so that you can keep your food safe and prevent food borne illnesses from striking.

Food Handling Basics for Safety:

  • Wash your hands before, during and after food preparation.
  • Read expiration dates on perishable and non-perishable foods and throw away any foods that have passed their fresh date.
  • Never cut fresh foods on the same cutting board you use for meats and poultry.
  • Cook foods in the microwave until it reaches the correct temperature to be sure all bacteria is killed.
  • Store leftovers promptly and reheat thoroughly to the correct temperature (165 degrees) to prevent microorganisms from flourishing.
  • Check the temperature in your refrigerator with a thermometer to be sure it is set at the proper temperature to keep foods safe (40 degrees or lower).
  • Wash fruits and vegetables.
  • Clean kitchen surfaces with hot water and soap.
  • Don’t thaw foods on the counter, safely thaw foods in the refrigerator or microwave and cook immediately.
  • Don’t use cans that are dented or bulging.

If you become ill, contact your physician immediately.  Symptoms of food borne illnesses include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Remember the old standby – ‘if in doubt throw it out!’ Keeping yourself and your loved ones safe in the kitchen is in your hands.

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