Food Safety

By Spencer Katz


  • It is always safer to use a sharp knife than a dull one. When handing a knife to someone else, give it to them with the grip towards them or lay it on a counter for them to pick up so that the knife does not cut them.
  • When cutting, place your fingers straight down so that the knife does not cut the hand that is holding the food. Never put knives in sitting water because someone could cut themselves if they reached in.
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Basic Knife Skills

Fire Extinguishers

  • Use a fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, and not growing. Keep the fire extinguisher close to an exit. Don't use the fire extinguisher if the room is filled with smoke.
  • To operate the fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS. Pull the pin, aim low, squeeze the lever, and sweep from side to side. Know when to leave, because safe escape is the most important thing.

Oil Fires

  • Always keep watch on the oil as it is heating. Clip a thermometer on the side so you know the temperature of the oil. The oil won't immediately catch fire once it starts smoking, but smoke is a danger sign that it will.
  • If an oil fire does occur, turn the heat off, cover the pot with a wet towel, and call 911 if it spreads. Do not under any circumstance pour water on the fire as it could only make it worse.
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Raw Meats

  • Never leave uncooked meats refrigerated for a couple hours. Use color coordinated cutting boards to avoid cross contamination. Never eat under-cooked meats, otherwise you could get food poisoning.
  • Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before, during, and after handling raw meats. Use a thermometer to cook the meats to proper temperatures. Always marinate in the refrigerator, never on the counter.


  • Cook meats immediately after defrosting in the microwave. During defrosting in the microwave, food heats up and can cause bacteria that may be present to start multiplying. Cover foods with a lid or a microwave-safe plastic wrap.
  • Only use cookware that is specially manufactured for use in the microwave. Never put metal inside a microwave, as it could start a fire.

Washing your hands

  • Always wash your hands before preparing food, otherwise germs and bacteria can spread to your food. Wash them frequently to stop the spread of germs. Touching any dirty objects can spread germs to your hands.
  • Make sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sing the Happy Birthday song. Clean all parts of your hands and fingers vigorously, and dry them with a clean towel. Use your elbow or a towel to turn the faucet off.
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Washing dishes

  • Make sure that dishes are clean before and after you use them so that germs do not spread to your food. Most dishes can be washed in the dish washer, however some require that you hand wash them.
  • While hand washing a dish, use soap and a sponge to clean the surface of the dish. Rinse the dish, and dry with a clean towel or air dry.

Broken glass

  • If a glass dish or appliance breaks on the floor, never use your fingers to pick up the shards of glass. This could cut your fingers, and may cause blood to get inside your food.
  • Sweep up the broken glass, place them in a container, and using gloves, use a wet paper towel to wipe the area. Make sure to not leave any glass remaining as someone could step on it, or cut themselves on it.


  • When baking food in the oven, always be alert and careful. When putting food in or taking food out wear oven mitts so you do not burn yourself. Also, pull the oven rack out whenever transferring food in and out of the oven.
  • Make sure to set the temperature correctly so you do not over-cook or under-cook your food. If a fire starts, turn the oven off immediately and use a fire extinguisher. If the fire spreads, call 911.

Cleaning the kitchen

  • Before, during, and after preparing food, make sure that the kitchen is clean. Wipe all counter tops, especially if there are food scraps remaining. Clean all around the stoves, because any extra food scraps laying around can cause a fire when the stove is used.
  • Place any food scraps in the trashcan, especially if there is no garbage disposal in the sink. Put all kitchen appliances away after they are used, and make sure they are clean.