What you should know about food prepping
One in six people in the U.S. get sick from food-borne illnesses each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While this statistic may seem alarming, following proper food-handling practices can help reduce the risk.
Along with cooking food to the right temperature, knowing which foods to rinse and which foods not to rinse can also protect against food poisoning.
Jamie Portnoy, registered dietitian with Advocate Medical Group – Advocate Weight Management in Libertyville, Ill., shares six tips to help wash food properly:
- Wash all produce. I recommend that all produce be rinsed thoroughly upon coming home from the grocery store. Even if you’re consuming organic produce, it’s important to thoroughly wash and scrub all fruits and vegetables to reduce pesticides and microbes. For berries and mushrooms, wait to rinse them until it is time to eat them. This will give them a longer shelf life.
- Don’t forget about fruit with a peel. Fruits like bananas and oranges should also be washed because bacteria can spread from the outside in as you cut and peel them.
- Skip meats and poultry. Although many people think you should run chicken or meats under water before cooking, rinsing meat or poultry can spread bacteria onto countertops or skin.
- Avoid washing eggs. All commercial eggs are washed before sale. When you rinse eggs, you increase the risk of the shell cracking which can then lead to cross-contamination.
- Wash your hands. Hand-washing is one of the most important steps to proper food safety. Wash your hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling food for at least 20 seconds. This helps to avoid food poisoning and the spread of food-borne illnesses.
- Clean surrounding areas. Be sure to wash countertops, cutting boards and utensils to stop bacteria from spreading.
“Many people will go out and buy chemical rinses to wash their produce, but you don’t have to,” says Portnoy. “Using cold, clean tap water or spraying your produce with distilled water will do the trick. Distilled water works well because it has been filtered and purified to remove contaminants.”
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