‘12 Common Myths About Food Safety’

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How much do you really know about good food hygiene? Here we look at some common food safety myths, separating fact from fiction in order to allow you to stay healthy and ensure your business continues to thrive.

1. The best way to defrost food is to leave it on the work surface. Wrong! Bacteria grow surprisingly rapidly at room temperatures, so the counter is never a place you should thaw foods.

2. Plastic chopping boards are more hygienic than wooden ones. Myth! What is important is that the board gets cleaned properly.

Point #3

3. Once food has been cooked, all the bacteria have been killed. Wrong! The possibility of bacterial growth actually increases after cooking. This is why keeping cooked food warmed to the right temperature is critical for food safety.

4. If you have let food sit for more than two hours, you can make it safe by reheating it. Myth! Some bacteria, such as staphylococcus produce toxins that are not destroyed by high cooking temperatures. Refrigerate perishable foods within two hours in a refrigerator at a temperature of 40 degrees or below.

5. Leftovers are safe to eat until they start to smell bad. Wrong! Most bacteria that cause food poisoning do not affect the look, smell, or taste of food.

6. Marinades are acidic, which kills bacteria, so it’s okay to marinate foods on the counter. Myth! Even in the presence of acidic marinade, bacteria can grow rapidly at room temperatures. To marinate foods safely, it’s important to marinate them in the refrigerator.

7. I use bleach and water to sanitize my countertops and the more bleach I use the more bacteria I kill. Wrong! The amount of bleach makes no difference.

8. It is okay to eat mouldy food once the mouldy section is removed. Myth! Visible mould is usually an indicator that the food is more thoroughly contaminated.

9. Rinsing chicken in a colander over the sink cleans off all harmful bacteria. Wrong! Rinsing will do nothing to kill germs; cooking it properly is the only way to do that.

10. If you drop food on the floor and pick it up within five seconds, it’s safe to eat. Myth! The five-second rule’ doesn’t prevent bacteria from getting on fallen food.

11. You can tell when meat is properly cooked by looking at it and pressing on it. Wrong! Even the most talented chefs can’t tell the exact temperature just by looking and touching. The only way to know if a food is cooked properly is with a meat thermometer.

Last Point

12. Starchy foods can be left out and eaten later. Myth! This is a relatively common misconception. If potatoes, cooked pasta, or cooked rice are left out long enough they are just as capable of giving food poisoning as items that contain eggs, meat, or dairy.

  • By Bilal Al Halabi, Al Halabi Ref. & Kitchen Equipment www.al-halabi.com





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