Most of us are concerned with buying healthful foods. We read labels, buy organic and do everything we can to consume foods that are good for us. The way we prepare and store food can be just as important. It is imperative to know what are hazards to food safety and how we can make sure our food isn't being contaminated by these hazards.
Leaving a prepared food item out for a long period can create a food hazard. After cooking food, it should only be left out in room temperature for, at most, two hours. Then it should be wrapped up and refrigerated. After two hours, harmful bacteria start to invade the food. It should be thrown out at that point.
The food you are using has a time limit. On any food item you buy, there should be an expiration date on the label or packaging. When the food item reaches this date, it starts to spoil. This is especially true for meat and milk products. Never rely on the smell or look of a food to make sure it is still good.
The placement of foods could be a hazard to safety. Always keep meats, vegetables and fruits separated in the refrigerator. Raw meat has the capacity to hold in bacteria until it is cooked. If it is placed near fruits that are not cooked, the bacteria can contaminate the fruit. Uncooked meats should always be thoroughly wrapped and either placed in the freezer or put far away from any other foods.
In all restaurants, employees are required to wash their hands thoroughly before preparing food. This habit should also be followed by anyone preparing food at home. Always wash your hands before handling any food and make sure to rinse the food off before cooking it.
Keep foods tightly sealed. Use containers with plastic snap covers. Food goes bad at a faster rate when it is left uncovered. Raw meats left uncovered can spread bacteria throughout the refrigerator. Make sure leftovers are always placed in a plastic bag or a container with a cover. Check them each day to make sure they are not spoiled.