There are many myths that end up in foodservice. Set your employees on the right path by going through this list of food safety myths with them.
- Rinsing my hands briefly before working with food is enough.
There is no acceptable substitute for proper handwashing. The proper steps of handwashing are: rinse in warm water, apply soap, scrub hands for at least fifteen seconds, rinse, and dry with a paper towel or air dryer. The whole process should take at least twenty seconds, or about the length of singing the ABC’s song.
- Once food has been cooked, all the bacteria have been killed, so I don’t need to worry about it.
Not exactly. Some bacteria actually survive the cooking process. Once the food cools into the temperature danger zone (41°F-135°F), these bacteria will start growing again and the food will be unsafe very quickly. Foods must be kept out of the danger zone, and cooled properly.
- It’s okay to thaw meat on the counter. Since the meat started out frozen, the bacteria on the meat isn’t really a problem.
Freezing does not kill all bacteria, and once the food enters the temperature danger zone, these bacteria will start growing again. The best way to thaw food is to use the refrigerator, since this keeps it out of the temperature danger zone completely.
- I don’t need to use a food thermometer. I can tell when the food is cooked by looking at it.
The only way to tell if a food is done cooking is to use a thermometer. This is especially important when cooking meats.
- Using the same utensils, equipment, and cutting boards to work with different foods is safe as long as they start out clean.
Definitely not! When a food contacts a surface, it will leave behind any pathogens that were on the food. For example, if you cut raw chicken on a cutting board and then immediately chop up some lettuce, the lettuce will have the pathogens from the raw chicken. You wouldn’t want to eat raw chicken—so you don’t want to eat lettuce that has touched raw chicken’s germs. You must clean and sanitize food contact surfaces between uses.
- Foodborne illness won’t happen here.
If correct food safety principles are not followed, foodborne illness will happen. Every year, about one out of every six Americans gets sick with a foodborne illness. Food hazards are always present and they must be controlled, otherwise people will get sick.
Discuss these principles with your employees to keep your establishment running safely and smoothly. If any of your employees are unsure about these topics, try checking out our Food Handler Training course.