Washing food before you eat it may seem like a good idea, but this is not always the case. When you are prepping for food, there are certain precautions you have to take and some steps that need to be followed in order to ensure that the safety of the food is not compromised in any way. If you make a mistake, it can result in disastrous consequences for anyone who is handling or consuming the meal in question. Expert chef Ido Fishman has highlighted the dos and don’ts that you should follow in food prep to ensure safety:
- Don’t rinse the meat before cooking
A lot of people are under the misconception that you should rinse raw beef, poultry, veal, lamb or pork before cooking, but it is actually not a requirement. According to Ido Fishman, any bacteria that might be on the meat will be killed while cooking. As a matter of fact, rinsing the meat before cooking could actually do more harm than good, as the bacteria may be splashed on other items in the kitchen. This means there is a risk it could spread to other utensils, foods and surfaces. This is known as cross-contamination.
- Don’t rinse the eggs
The same logic applies for eggs. During the commercial egg process, they are already washed and the cleansers and procedures are outlined by the federal regulations. Any other kind of handling, whether it is washing or rinsing, will only increase the possibility of cross-contamination, especially if you end up cracking the shell.
- Do wash the produce
While Ido Fishman doesn’t recommend washing meat or eggs, produce is a whole different ball game. Before preparing or eating fresh fruits or vegetables, you should wash them under cold running water for removing any lingering bacteria or dirt. If the item boasts a firm surface, like potatoes or apples, you can use a brush for cleaning them.
However, you shouldn’t use a soap or detergent for washing fruits and vegetables. Those products are not safe to be used because you may end up consuming them. Also, you should cut away the bruised or damaged areas when preparing fruits or vegetables, as that’s where bacteria can thrive. Any fresh-cut items, such as fruit or salad, should be immediately refrigerated for safety and quality purposes.
- Don’t use salt water for soaking meat
Soaking meat in salt water is definitely not recommended on the Ido Fishman blog for removing bacteria because it doesn’t really do anything. If you do decide to do this, you should take steps to avoid cross-contamination and make sure the meat is soaked while it is in the refrigerator.
- Do wash your hands after handling raw meat
Once you have handled raw meat, its packaging or poultry, it is absolutely necessary that you wash your hands. Anything you touch after handling it could become contaminated. This means that you could get sick if you pick up a piece of fruit and eat it after handling poultry or raw meat. Before and after handling the food, you should wash your hand with soap for at least 20 seconds
- Do wash sinks and countertops with hot and soapy water
In order to add some extra protection, Ido Fishman recommends that you wash sinks and countertops for preventing cross-contamination from poultry juices or raw meat. You can also sanitize with a mixture of water and bleach for some added protection.
- Do get rid of the meat packaging
Packaging material from poultry or raw meat, such as plastic wraps or foam meat trays, can also result in cross-contamination. Therefore, these should never be used for any other food items. You should discard these and other packaging materials, such as egg cartons, immediately.
Follow these dos and don’ts by Ido Fishman and you will be able to do all the food prep safely and without making any compromises on health.