Keeping food safe starts with personal hygiene. Washing hands frequently is important to food safety. Cuts and injuries should be cleaned, bandaged, and covered with gloves.
- Before starting work
- Before putting on clean gloves
- Before and after handling raw food
- After using the restroom
- After sneezing or coughing
- After eating or drinking
- After smoking or using tobacco
- After handling chemicals
- After taking out the trash
- After touching your hair, body, clothing, or other un-sanitized objects
- After touching animals
- After any activity that might contaminate your hands
It is also important to use clean utensils, clean tools, and to keep a clean work area. All utensils, dishes, tools, and work surfaces should be cleaned and sanitized after they come in contact with food, and before switching from one food to another. Proper sanitation will prevent cross-contamination of bacteria and allergens into the food.
Bacteria grow fast in the temperature range of 40° – 140° F (5 – 57°C). For this reason, this range of temperature is called the “Danger Zone”. Bacteria can grow so rapidly that potentially hazardous food that stays at the high end of the range (70°- 140°) for more than 4 hours should be thrown out.
Frozen food should never be thawed at room temperature because it will stay too long in the Danger Zone. It should be thawed in the refrigerator; submerged under cool running water; in the microwave; or as part of the cooking process.
In solar cooking, food generally takes about twice to three times as long to cook as in a regular oven. Allow plenty of time and ensure there will be plenty of sunshine to enable solar cooking. Since it is often difficult to determine whether food is completely done or not, use a food thermometer to verify the internal temperature of the food.
- 140°F – Ham, fully cooked (to reheat)
- 145°F – Beef, fish, pork, and lamb
- 160°F – Egg dishes and ground meat
- 165°F – Poultry, stuffing, casseroles, reheat leftovers
Nothing is more important than your family, your friends, and you. Do not risk their health to foodborne illness due to improper food handling.