Being in the restaurant business or even having a passion for cooking means you’re probably spending most of your time in the kitchen preparing meals for others and yourself. While cooking for yourself is relatively simple, cooking for a group of people can be a bit more complex. Perhaps this is because you are responsible for the quality of the food, the way it is handled and prepared and probably the way people feel after their meal. The aim is to always please the diners. And what better way to prove this than by handling every situation with care, behind closed kitchen doors.

Many times we find ourselves being careless and carefree when prepping meals but a lot more goes into it. You could potentially put people’s lives at risk if you’re not mindful of your food safety habits.

Here are 5 safety habits that you need to develop:

Wash With Soap:

This is straightforward and many of you might think it’s a given. Sadly, this is not always the case. If you are someone who skips this step, let us tell you – don’t! Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds under warm water before and after handling. This is crucial especially when handling raw meat and seafood as they contain bacteria and you could possibly contaminate other foods.

Leaving Out Perishable Food:

Perishable items such as raw meat can only survive for two hours at room temperature. This accounts for preparation time as well. If it is left longer, bacteria starts to form and spread making the food harmful and no longer edible.

Refrigerate After Eating:

As soon as you’re done eating or serving your food, make sure to place the leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer immediately. Even cooked foods can attract bacteria. In fact, bacteria can be reintroduced to prepared meals through other sources. To make sure your food cools down quicker, place it in shallow Tupperware.

Cross Contamination:

This occurs when bacteria is transferred from a surface or food to another. Juices from raw meats can contaminate foods that might be consumer raw or even prepared meals. Be sure not to store raw foods in the same plates or dishes that contain cooked items or items that don’t require cooking. Remember to seal raw meat tightly before placing it in the refrigerator so that the liquids do not drip and infect other food items.

Cooking At Correct Temperatures:

For all foods to get rid of harmful bacteria, they need to prepare at different temperature so that they’re cooked all the way through. To ensure food safety, invest in a food thermometer that will tell you if your foods made right. You can also research the different temperatures various items need to be cooked at. This might vary for meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables as well as leftovers.

Now that you have a grip on the basics, it might be a good idea for you take a food handling course or enrol yourself into a food safety supervisor program at Australian Institute of Accreditation . This applies specifically for those who wish to start up their own restaurant business or have some experience cooking professionally.