Navigating kitchen safety can sometimes feel like walking through a minefield of dos and don’ts. Let’s shed some light on the common food safety mistakes that sneak into our daily routines. By understanding and adjusting these small, often overlooked actions, we can significantly improve our food handling practices and keep our kitchens and families safe.

A man and a boy are preparing hamburgers on a cutting board.
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Not Cooking Meat Thoroughly

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Undercooked meat is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. It’s crucial to use a meat thermometer to ensure meat reaches the safe internal temperature recommended by food safety guidelines. A simple tool like a thermometer can significantly enhance kitchen safety.

Eating Raw Batter or Dough

Whipped cream in a bowl with a whisk.
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Raw batter or dough can harbor bacteria such as salmonella. It’s best to resist the temptation and wait for the cooked product. Practicing patience not only enhances safety but ensures enjoyment of the treats in their intended, delicious form.

Thawing Food on the Counter

Two pieces of meat wrapped in plastic on a plate.
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Thawing food at room temperature can increase the risk of bacterial growth. The safer methods include thawing in the refrigerator, using cold water, or microwave thawing. This approach helps maintain food safety by keeping temperatures controlled.

Leaving Food Out Too Long Before Refrigerating

Three glass jars filled with rice and vegetables.
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Letting perishable food sit out for extended periods allows bacteria to multiply rapidly. Foods should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking, or one hour if the ambient temperature is high. This practice helps prevent foodborne illnesses by keeping food at safe temperatures.

Not Washing Fruit Before Peeling or Cutting

Strawberries in a wooden bowl on a wooden table.
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Bacteria on the exterior of fruits can be transferred to the flesh during cutting or peeling. Washing fruits thoroughly before these actions can prevent such contamination. This simple step acts as a basic yet effective protective measure.

Not Washing Your Hands

A person washing their hands with soap in a sink.
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Failing to wash hands properly can lead to the transfer of bacteria to food. Handwashing should be a fundamental step before and during cooking. A thorough wash reduces the risk of contamination and is a cornerstone of kitchen hygiene.

Using the Same Plate for Raw and Cooked Meat

Beef steaks on a plate with rosemary and garlic.
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Reusing plates that held raw meat for serving cooked meat can reintroduce bacteria to the cooked food. It’s advisable to use separate plates for raw and cooked meats to avoid cross-contamination. This practice is a simple but effective way to ensure food safety.

Rinsing Chicken, Meat or Turkey

A person is pouring water into a bowl of chicken.
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Rinsing meat under the tap can spread bacteria around the kitchen. It’s safer to skip rinsing and rely on proper cooking methods to eliminate bacteria. This strategy reduces the risk of contaminating kitchen surfaces and other foods.

Mishandling Cutting Boards

Chicken leg on a cutting board with tomatoes and onions.
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Using the same cutting board for different types of food, especially raw meat and vegetables, can lead to cross-contamination. Designating cutting boards for specific food types and regular cleaning are critical steps in preventing the spread of bacteria.

Placing Warm Food in the Refrigerator

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Immediately refrigerating warm leftovers can unknowingly foster bacteria growth by keeping food within the “danger zone” temperatures between 41 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s essential to let food cool to avoid this risk. To hasten cooling, spread leftovers in thinner layers in metal containers or divide them into smaller pieces. This method safely reduces cooling time without leaving food out too long, ensuring leftovers are stored safely and promptly.

10 Best Frozen Veggies To Keep In Your Freezer At All Times For Easy Meals

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Keeping the right frozen veggies on hand is like having a secret weapon for easy meal prep. This list is a carefully selected lineup of the best frozen vegetables that promise to turn your everyday cooking into something effortlessly delicious. From the sweet char of fire roasted corn to the versatile goodness of chopped spinach, these freezer staples ensure you’re always ready to whip up something tasty.

See them here: 10 Best Frozen Veggies To Keep In Your Freezer At All Times For Easy Meals

The Top 10 Mercury-Heavy Fish and What to Have Instead

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Navigating the world of seafood can sometimes feel like sailing through murky waters, especially when it comes to mercury content. While fish is a fantastic source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, certain types pack a punch with high levels of mercury, posing health risks. We’re shining a light on those fish and offering up a net-full of safer alternatives so you can make informed choices to enjoy seafood that’s not only tasty but also good for your health.

See them here: The Top 10 Mercury-Heavy Fish and What to Have Instead

The Best Fast Food Sides That Go Beyond Fries

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Let’s face it, when we think fast food, it’s the burgers and fries that usually steal the show. But what about the unsung heroes of the menu, those side dishes that can turn a quick meal into something special? From the crispy, golden perfection of onion rings to the fluffy, buttery bliss of biscuits, there’s a whole world of flavor waiting to be explored. We’re diving into some of the most delicious and underrated fast food sides out there.

See Them Here: The Best Fast Food Sides That Go Beyond Fries

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Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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