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Food Prep Mistakes that Can Make You Sick

By Sara Butler

Preparing your meals at home helps you control all that goes into the food you eat – the good and the bad. You’re probably conscious of the calories, fat, and other things in your food, but what about the things in your food that might be making you sick? Here are a few food prep mistakes you need to avoid for your health.

Work Surface Contamination

Food poisoning is not a great takeaway from a meal. You can reduce your chances of getting sick from the things you eat by making sure not to cross contaminate food while you’re preparing it. The bacteria that live in poultry and other raw meats can easily spread to other foods if they’re on the same surface. In the meat they will die once cooked, but if the juice accidentally gets on something that you’re not cooking, such as salad, it can be very dangerous.

Make sure to keep your raw meat separate from the rest of the food you’re preparing. Always uses different utensils to handle meat and fruits or vegetables. And wash your hands well in-between handling with warm water and soap.

Letting Food Sit Out Too Long

It’s not always easy to tell if your food has been invaded by bacteria, so don’t rely on the way it looks to judge whether or not it’s safe to eat. Some foods must be kept at specific temperatures in order to be safe for consumption, so make sure you follow this rule of thumb: Cold foods must be kept cold and hot foods must be kept hot. The Food and Drug Administration says that it’s important to keep foods out of the danger zone, which they report to be between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Don’t leave food out for longer than two hours – and yes, that includes preparation time. Refrigerate foods you have left over in shallow containers and make sure they stay refrigerated.

Not Washing Produce Correctly

If you think raw meat is the only potential source of food-borne bacteria, you’re wrong! After produce is picked, it passes through many hands. That poses a very dangerous contamination risk, so make sure any produce you buy is thoroughly washed before eating. Even foods that you peel to eat should be washed before peeling.

Remember, food safety starts with you. So make sure you're doing what you can to avoid illness from food!

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Monroe, La. 


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