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Safety hazards during preparation of food

Updated July 19, 2017

Food, though required for good health, can be a source of illness through bacteria, viruses, parasites and allergies. Safe handling of food is essential for every kitchen.

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Bacteria and viruses, such as salmonella, E. coli and botulism, in foods cause food poisoning more often than anything else. Prevent the spread of these food-borne bacteria by washing hands and kitchen utensils frequently with hot, soapy water. Cook food to its recommended internal temperature and store in the refrigerator immediately after the meal.

Parasites in food

Some foods may harbour parasites like tapeworms and roundworms. Before eating fruit and vegetables, wash thoroughly, even if you plan to peel or cook them. Drink only clean water from a trusted source.


Food allergies cause serious reactions in some individuals and may lead to death. Common allergens include peanuts, eggs, fish and shellfish, milk, wheat and soybeans. Severely allergic individuals may develop a reaction if they consume a non-allergen food that has touched an allergen food.

Food storage

Normal room temperature encourages bacterial growth. Keep uncooked meats and dairy products refrigerated until just before cooking. Cooked foods should be refrigerated within two hours.


All meats should be cooked to a proper internal temperature to kill all potential bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. Cook beef, lamb and veal to 62 degrees C (145 F); pork and ham to 71 degrees C (160 F); and chicken and turkey to 74 degrees C (165 F).

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About the Author

Cindy Horton

Cindy Horton is a professional freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in the field. She is the author of "Expedition Earth: My Passport to the World" and her work has been published by Homeschool Radio Shows, Dell Logic Puzzles and "The Old Schoolhouse" magazine.

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