It's that time of year when many of us will be cooking holiday meals. The last thing you want is for someone to get sick from a foodborne illness. Consumer Reports reveals that prevention starts before you even enter the kitchen!
Take those reusable grocery bags. They might be better for the environment, but they can be a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria. Those reusable tote bags that you take grocery shopping, you want to toss them in the washing machine every once and awhile. And that's because juices from raw foods like meat and seafood can get into the fabric and then you run the risk of having that contaminate the food the next time you go shopping.
It's also important to keep raw meat refrigerated. But did you know you should not keep meat on the top shelf of the fridge? Keep raw meat, chicken, seafood on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator. That's where it's coldest and also then you prevent any juices from dripping down on the rest of the food that may be in your fridge.
And be sure to check that your refrigerator is actually cold enough to prevent the spreading of bacteria. It's safest to keep your refrigerator at a temperature at 37 degrees and you want to check it by using an inexpensive refrigerator thermometer.
Another common mistake people make is not washing their hands enough while cooking. This could lead to you spreading bacteria around the kitchen, including onto spice containers, prepared salads and even your phone or tablet, which a lot of people use while cooking. Your phone can be an unexpected source of cross contamination, so try not to use your phone when cooking. And if you do use it, wash your hands before and after you touch it.