5 food hygiene myths: The dos and don’ts of food prep

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Whether you’re a professional or home cook, it’s important to handle food safely. Many edible products harbour bacteria which can lead to food poisoning, so as well as using products from the likes of brosch direct to keep surfaces clean you should also store and prepare food safely. So, with this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the dos and don’ts of food prep and dispel some of the most common food hygiene myths.

1. You can tell if something is off by how it looks and smells

It’s believed that food safety myths could be putting consumers at risk with many people still thinking you can tell if something is off by how it looks and smells. According to the Food Standards Agency, this is not the case as potentially dangerous germs like E.coli and Salmonella don’t always make food smell ‘off’ and do not affect the appearance of food. Therefore, if you’re preparing something, always check the use-by date on the packaging and don’t take risks.

2. You need to wash poultry before you cook it

A survey by the Food Standards Agency also revealed that two thirds of consumers polled also believed you needed to wash poultry before cooking it. Debbie Sharpe from the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland was quick to put them straight, however stating: “This is a myth and by doing so consumers risk spreading harmful bacteria around their kitchen.” So, if you feel like chicken tonight, don’t worry about running it under the tap before throwing it in the oven.

3. Stick to the five second rule and you will be okay

If you’ve ever dropped something delicious on the floor, you’ve probably heard someone shout, ‘the five second rule’ at you. This implies that eating something which has touched the ground is okay, so long as it’s not been there for longer than five seconds. Of course, these are comforting words to someone who really wants to finish that slice of cake, but it is risky behaviour as the product would have come into contact with a whole array of germs as soon as it hit the ground.

As a rule, therefore, it’s probably best to start afresh if you do have an accident rather than putting people in danger – especially if you’re cooking for a crowd.

4. You can only get food poisoning from dodgy restaurants

It’s true that if you eat from a restaurant with badly prepared products and poor hygiene standards you might get sick. That said, ‘dodgy’ eateries are not the only source of food poisoning. Fail to store and prep your food well at home and you too could find yourself feeling unwell a few hours later.

There are, however, many things you can do to ensure you eat with minimal risk such as washing your hands thoroughly before touching anything edible, washing all soil off raw vegetables, using different chopping boards for raw meat and cooked produce and not keeping raw and cooked items together on the same shelf.

5. Hot food should be left out to cool before putting it in the fridge

If you’ve cooked in bulk or have unexpected leftovers, you may wait for the dish to cool completely before putting it in the fridge believing that’s what you should do. The bad news is, bacteria reproduce rapidly in temperatures between 5 and 60 degrees meaning food should ideally be placed in the fridge once it’s stopped steaming to prevent it being in the ‘danger temperature zone’ for too long. Larger portions should always be divided into smaller dishes as large bowls of soup can take a long time for the temperature to reduce even in the fridge making it potentially dangerous to eat.
It can be hard to change food preparation habits, but as many common myths can lead to food poisoning, it’s best to scrub up on your knowledge.

One Response to 5 food hygiene myths: The dos and don’ts of food prep

  1. A fantastic article, these are myths that need to be removed from the food and catering industry.

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