Food Safety: 11 Cooking Habits That Can Make You Sick
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There are times when we walk the line and indulge in questionable foods. Two-for-one steak dinners at a local rest-stop diner or those year-old gas station hot dogs that suddenly look appetizing. We know full well when making those decisions that we may suffer consequences -- like food poisoning -- from these brave actions. Yet, we take the risk. And sometimes we get sick.
But when preparing food in your own home, most of us would assume that we're free of that danger. Unfortunately, this just isn't the case. There are a handful of all-too-often committed cooking mistakes many home cooks make that can make you and your family sick -- really sick. Don't let that happen to you. Click through the slideshow below to make sure you're not committing any of these dangerous cooking acts.
This article was based upon information found on FoodSafety.gov.
Sharing A Plate For Raw And Cooked Meat
You should always use a different plate for raw meat and cooked meat. The same is true for seafood and poultry. Germs from the raw food can transfer from the plate onto the meat you're just about to serve.
Thawing Food On The Counter
Don't thaw meat on the counter because germs can spread rapidly at room temperature. It's best to thaw foods either in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave.
Despite what logic might imply, washing your meat in the kitchen sink is not sanitary. It can spread germs to the sink itself and surrounding countertops.
Let It Cool Before Storing
Many people think that food should completely cool before storing in the fridge, but it's not so. Leaving your food out to cool is actually just an invitation for germs. Illness-causing bacteria can grow in perishable foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them. Though, you should never put steaming hot food in the refrigerator because it warms up the temperature of your entire fridge, putting other food in danger.
Eating Mixtures That Contain Raw Eggs
You've been told this since you were a kid, but it turns out it's true: eating raw cookie dough can make you sick (or any other food with raw eggs in it). Uncooked eggs may contain salmonella or other harmful bacteria.
Marinating On The Counter
Just like you shouldn't thaw meats on the counter, you shouldn't leave marinades out either. Harmful germs multiply extremely rapidly at room temperature. Marinate your foods in the fridge.
Using Marinade As A Sauce
It may seem like a good idea to double the use of your marinade as a sauce, but the truth is the germs from the raw meat can contaminate your meal. You can use the marinade as a sauce if you bring it to a boil just before using.
Sure, you don't want to serve dried out meat, but keeping it too close to raw could potentially mean it's still got bacteria. We're not implying that you can't enjoy a nice pink steak, just that it's safest to cook meat according to the <a href="http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html" target="_hplink">meat safety food chart</a>.
Not Washing Your Hands
Wash your hands! This is not a new one, but it is a very important tip that gets overlooked way too often. And when we say wash your hands, that doesn't mean just quickly rinsing them under water. Wash them for a full 20 seconds with soap and running water.
Tasting Food To See If It's Still Good
Do you taste your milk to see if its still good? While this might not make you ill, it's a bad practice to maintain. Often times you can't taste when a food has gone bad -- and just a little taste of it can make you very ill.
Using Unwashed Fruit On A Cutting Board
Even if you plan on peeling your fruits and vegetables, you should always rinse them before use. The pesticides can transfer onto your work surface and contaminate the chopped produce. This is true for those leafy greens too. While this might not make you ill, it's certainly something you'll want to avoid.
WATCH: Food Safety Basics