December 12, 2012 6:04 am
Whether it’s just for yourself, for your family, or for any guests or business associates you might be entertaining over the holidays, be sure you are maintaining safe food handling practices in the kitchen.
A recent report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that although consumers recognize the potential seriousness of food-borne bacteria, they lack information on safe handling and storage of food products. A survey published by the CDC found that consumers under 35 years of age knew less about food safety terms and concepts than those over 35. Specific safe food handling was not practiced by 15 percent to 30 percent of survey respondents. For example, consumers did not cool cooked food rapidly, with 29 percent indicating they would let roasted chicken cool completely before refrigerating.
Only 32 percent indicated they would use small, shallow containers to refrigerate leftovers. Consumers did not know that failure to refrigerate may jeopardize safety, with 18 percent not concerned or uncertain about the safety of cooked meat and 14 percent not concerned about poultry left unrefrigerated for more than 4 hours.
The need for sanitation was not recognized, with only 54 percent indicating they would wash a cutting board with soap and water between cutting raw meat and chopping vegetables.
Food safety experts have identified the most common food-handling mistakes made by consumers at home:
- Serving contaminated raw food
- Cooking or heating food inadequately
- Obtaining food from unsafe sources
- Cooling food inadequately
- Allowing 12 hours or more between preparation and eating
What’s more, according to the CDC, many factors have contributed to consumers' lack of familiarity with safe food handling and increased food-borne illnesses. Increased participation in the paid labor force has lessened the exposure of young people to food-handling practices in the home; few schools offer or require food preparation classes; and partially prepared foods may have different, less familiar handling requirements.
If you want to read a wide variety of information on food handling and all kinds of handy prevention tips, visit the CDC website (cdc.gov) and make a resolution to keep yourself and your home free of food-borne illness in the New Year!
Published with permission from RISMedia.