If you’re like most people, you care about what you put on the table. You make sure you get the healthier options, spend time picking out good ingredients, buy the best quality food you can afford.

But did you know that there are common practices that you do in the kitchen that could be endangering your family’s health? Read on to check if any of these common mistakes ever happen in your kitchen.

What could go wrong?

“Because the National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS) performs such tight inspections on local and imported meats from the slaughterhouse to the final retail outlets, the incidence of contaminated meat in the Philippine market remains relatively low,” explains Dr. Robert H. Lo DVM, Proprietor and Chief Executive Officer of RDF

“However, food poisoning still happens, and could happen right in your very home. Common food poisoning obtained from meat products is bacterial (Salmonella, E.coli) poisoning, and occurs when meat is contaminated by microorganisms wherein their toxins are not destroyed during processing or cooking.”

Infection mostly occurs at home, or wherever cooking is done.  However, it is important to note that most bacteria can be easily killed via proper cooking. But if the meat is not properly handled, there’s a chance cross-contamination can occur, which is when harmful bacteria or allergens spread to food from other food, surfaces, hands or equipment.

Are you endangering your family’s health?

Here are some common practices that are dangerous to your family’s health because they encourage either cross-contamination or spoilage of meat and meat products, some of which you might even do at home.

  1. Defrosting in running water.  This exposes meat to any bacteria in the water and gives the microorganisms enough time and good conditions to establish themselves. Instead, defrost meat for as much as overnight in an airtight bag or container in the refrigerator. You can also microwave your meat on your microwave’s defrost setting.
  2. Believing that freezing kills off harmful bacteria. Freezing does not kill bacteria, it just stops it from multiplying. If you defrost previously frozen meat, it becomes vulnerable to pathogens.
  3. Washing meat in water before cooking. Again, you are exposing meat to the bacteria in water.
  4. Not cooking food all the way through. Serving undercooked meat, especially chicken, is particularly dangerous. If you didn’t destroy all the bacteria present in the meat, you have now given it one of the best environments for it to grow as the food sits out on the counter, cooling. To prevent this, always cook meat all the way through- at least 75OC at the center of its thickest part.
  5. Using the same utensils on cooked and raw meat. We usually use the same dishes, forks, or tongs when handling cooked and raw meat. This is a definite no-no. Use different utensils and make sure that what touches raw meat never touches any cooked food that’s meant to be served.   

This year, it’s time to step up your game in the kitchen and be even more vigilant in safeguarding your family’s meals. Eliminate these unhealthy practices and have a safer, healthier year ahead.

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