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What is Food Safety?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Food safety is the utilization of various resources and strategies to ensure that all types of foods are properly stored, prepared, and preserved so they are safe for consumption. Practicing this level of food sanitation begins with the purchase or acquisition of different food items and ends with the proper storage of leftovers for future use. Many of the food safety methods used in restaurants can also be employed at home. Here are some examples.

One of the most important aspects of practicing food safety involves preventing foods from becoming contaminated. Making sure foods are stored properly goes a long way in avoiding any type of food contamination. Meat and vegetables should be placed in airtight containers and placed in a freezer. Items such as flour, sugar, cornmeal, and spices should also be stored in containers that provide an effective barrier to airborne bacteria, and can be stored in pantries when not in active use.

Basic kitchen sanitation guidelines are also an important component of any food safety strategy. Preparation counters should be disinfected regularly. Cutting boards should also be cleaned after each use. Knives, spatulas, pans, pots, and other tools used in the preparation of food should be washed in hot soapy water or run through a dishwasher. This can help minimize the opportunity for food residue to breed bacteria that could contaminate food the next time the tools are used.

Care should also be taken to wash all fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly before initiating any type of food preparation. This simple process will help remove a significant amount of germs and bacteria, reducing the chances of some type of food borne illness from developing. With foods that are peeled, washing helps to prevent the transfer of contaminants from the peel to the knife and ultimately to the food itself.

Leftovers should be placed in airtight containers and placed into the refrigerator or freezer immediately after a meal. This helps to preserve the leftovers for use in other dishes at a later date by maintaining the quality of the food and protecting it from possible contamination. Doing so makes it possible to utilize leftover corn, potatoes, and other vegetables in soups or casseroles at a later date, with no worries about possible contamination.

Practicing food safety not only helps to maintain good health, but can also help save money. Storing food properly, as well as making sure to prepare food in a clean environment, means that there is less chance of food spoiling and being thrown out. From this perspective, proper kitchen safety stretches the monthly food budget and allows households to enjoy more food at a lower cost.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including DelightedCooking, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon202962 — On Aug 04, 2011

food safety should be practiced at home.

By Comparables — On Aug 29, 2010

Most states offer some sort of food safety certificate that is required before working in a restaurant or food service position. Some states require the employer to pay for, administer, or submit the completed materials. Other states require employees to take the examination at a state sanctioned facility and pay the license fee themselves. Most employers will not hire a kitchen employee that cannot pass or take the test before their first shift.

This certification keeps food service businesses in compliance, and helps to maintain public health and safety. At least once a year, a health inspector will inspect a food service business to ensure the business and its employees are practicing proper food safety.

It is wise for employees and employers to do their own food safety reviews on a regular basis. Bad health inspection reviews, or customers who fall ill from bad food, can have be detrimental to a business.

By GlassAxe — On Jul 06, 2010

This article gives a great overview of food safety. I would like to add a little bit about food safety in commercial kitchens. A dishwasher who hand washes dishes must use a three cycle dish washing system. A dishwasher must wash dishes in hot soapy water, rinse in hot water, and sanitize in water with bleach or blue tabs. This is because a dishwasher cannot wash dishes at 165+ degrees without burning him/her self.

Restaurants should also store all food products off the floor. Whether it is a large stock-pot or pail in the walk-in refrigerator, or canned goods and bags of flour in dry storage, this is a must. This will prevent contamination.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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