ARTICLES / General /Careful
in the Kitchen /
By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers some
guidelines for proper food prep at home. First,
“clean.” Wash hands and surfaces often and well.
Bacteria can be found throughout a kitchen,
including on utensils, cutting boards, sponges and
countertops. Use warm water and soap for all washing
of hands and cooking supplies. When cutting boards
develop worn and hard to clean surfaces, they should
be replaced. A loved one may consider paper towels
just extra waste, but they are very good at
preventing bacteria buildup.
Next, “separate.” Cross-contamination is how
bacteria is spread, especially when handling raw
meat, poultry and seafood. Separate these
foods from other foods in a shopping cart and also
in the refrigerator. Use different cutting boards
for them as well. Wash utensils and other dishes
after coming in contact with raw meat, poultry,
seafood, eggs and unwashed fresh produce. A big
“no-no” is putting cooked food on the same plate the
raw was on previously. Bacterial residue on the
plate could contaminate the cooked food.
After separating, “cook” foods to proper
temperatures. The FDA explains that foods are cooked
safely when heated for a long enough time and at a
high enough temperature to kill the harmful
bacteria. There are many guidelines available for
temperatures to watch for when cooking a variety of
Finally, the FDA advises seniors to “chill,” and
not in the way a teenager would mean! While stored
at room temperature, bacteria in food may double
every 20 minutes. Caregivers should teach a loved
one to refrigerate foods quickly to keep bacteria at
bay. Many people believe it’s not good to put hot
food in a refrigerator, but the FDA says it keeps a
person safe to do so.
With some simple guidelines, a caregiver can show
their loved one how to eat safely at home and avoid
problems down the road.
The McDonald’s trend hit the United States in the
late 1950s, and has grown into a full-blown way of
life since then. No longer is eating out a “treat”
for a special occasion, such as a birthday,
anniversary or first date. Sure, people may still
dine at a fancier restaurant for those times, but
grabbing a sandwich or salad is a regular habit.
Today, nearly 50 percent of the money spent on food
goes toward meals that other people prepare.