Most people don’t set out to handle food dangerously. That goes for both home cooks and industry professionals. However, several dangerous practices are commonplace and can actually lead to foodborne illnesses.
Fortunately, the more knowledgeable you are regarding food safety, the fewer potentially harmful mistakes you can make. After you undertake an online Texas food handlers course and do a bit of extra homework, you can learn about and avoid the following things.
Not Washing Your Hands
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, handwashing was a crucial requirement in the food handling industry. It was a layer of protection against germs from your hands making their way onto food that you would be serving to the general public.
However, not all food handlers wash their hands as carefully or as frequently as they should. It’s crucial to wash them with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. You must also wash your hands before, during, and after food preparation, as well as after handling trash, using the toilet, or doing other non-food-related tasks.
Putting Cooked Meat On A Plate That Held Raw Meat
You might think you’re saving yourself some dishes by reusing plates, but this can be a dangerous practice. Using a plate for cooked meat that once held raw meat can lead to cross-contamination and a potentially harmful foodborne illness.
Cross-contamination is when harmful bacteria are transferred from one surface, person, or object to another. When you aren’t cleaning dishes, hands, and utensils when swapping between produce types, it can occur a lot easier than you might think.
There are several things you can do to avoid cross-contamination. Regarding cooked meat versus raw meat, always use separate, clean dishes and utensils. Use different chopping boards for each preparation task, and pay attention to how you’re storing foods in the refrigerator, as well.
Not Cooking Food to a Safe Internal Temperature
Chicken is a prime example of a food that can look cooked on the outside but isn’t on the inside. It might have gloriously crispy skin, but it can still be pink and bloody once you peel it back.
If you were to serve that to your paying customers, you might be putting your customers at risk of severe cases of food poisoning with long-lasting symptoms. While not all cases of food poisoning will be in your control, those involving food temperatures are.
Make sure you use food thermometers to accurately establish the internal temperatures of each food type you’re cooking and serving. The CDC offers a detailed list of ideal food temperatures, but you can also use TABC Pronto as a resource to learn more about temperature control.
Using Taste and Smell to Determine if Food Is Safe to Eat
Anything can smell and look good and still be harboring dangerous bacteria that can put people in the hospital. Never use your sense of smell or taste to see whether something is safe to eat or serve.
Instead, refer to storage time charts and safe food practices to determine whether food is still safe or should be disposed of.
Not Thawing Food Properly
You may be surprised to learn that it’s not best practice to take a cut of meat out of the freezer and leave it sitting on the bench all day to thaw before serving it to your family. This is a dangerous practice in a home environment and a commercial kitchen.
When you undertake a food handlers course, you can learn all about the best thawing practices for food. Your preferred one can depend on how quickly you need to thaw food and what that food is.
Some of the safest options include slow defrosting in your refrigerator, using cold water that you change frequently, and cooking without thawing. Refrain from using your microwave where possible, as there is a high risk that some parts of your food will start to cook rather than thaw.
Want To Avoid Making Some of These Mistakes? TABC Pronto Can Help
TABC Pronto offers 100% online certification for a Texas food handlers certificate. Learn about safe food practices, handler hygiene, food preparation techniques, and more.
The more you understand about safe food handling, the safer you and your customers can be. Why not enroll now so that you can work safely in the hospitality industry throughout Texas?