Preparing food for a large crowd can be fun and overwhelming at the same time. It’s overwhelming due to the amount of food you have to serve. And it’s fun because you can share how great your food is with the people you cherish the most.
However, the challenge of preparing food for a large crowd is maintaining food safety at all times. Fortunately, food manufacturers are now more careful than ever with new technologies like metal detectors that can help them produce safe and quality food.
Metal detectors help identify food products contaminated with metals before they’re released and distributed in the market. There are many types of food that can be inspected by a metal detector, such as meats, spices, baked goods, and liquids.
With these technologies, it’ll be easy for professional and home cooks to produce safe and quality food for the family. But that’s not all. As someone who cooks, you have to be aware of some food safety tips to keep your food not only palatable but also safe for consumption.
- Clean All Surfaces And Wash Your Hands
Never start the cooking process without ensuring that everything is clean, from your hands and ingredients to kitchen tools and surfaces. This is to prevent contamination due to the presence of bacteria and other disease-causing microorganisms.
Here are some cleaning tips to follow:
- Wash your hands with soap and clean water for 20 seconds (minimum) before, during, and after food preparation.
- Wash kitchen utensils with soap and rinse them in running water until all the bubbles are gone.
- Clean kitchen surfaces using soap and rinse them with clean water. Then, disinfect surfaces with a bleach solution (one cup of bleach in one gallon of water) and let it dry.
- Wash kitchen ingredients in running water, especially fruits and vegetables. Do not wash meats, such as poultry, to prevent the spread of microorganisms intact.
The microorganisms present in meats are killed during the cooking process, so there’s nothing to worry about. All you need to do is ensure that it’s cooked thoroughly.
- Avoid Cross-Contamination
Cross-contamination is how microorganisms spread from one object to another through direct contact. For example, using the same knife to cut chicken thighs first and then fruits next means bacteria from the raw chicken is now on the fruit.
Preventing cross-contamination is one of the basic principles of food safety and preparation. It is the key to ensuring cleanliness throughout the cooking process and food handling at all times. That being said, here are some tips to prevent cross-contamination:
- Use different color-coded cutting boards depending on the type of food. For example, use red for meats, green for fruits and veggies, white for poultry, and yellow for seafood.
- Use different knives when chopping various kinds of foods at the same time.
- Make sure all kitchen surfaces are clean.
- Make sure all containers for serving and preparation are clean.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching anything, especially red meats and poultry.
These are common practices to prevent cross-contamination and ensure the cleanliness and safety of food during preparation. So, make sure to apply it whether you’re cooking for a huge crowd or not.
- Use The Right Temperature When Cooking
Temperature is one of the crucial factors in food safety. It determines the potential survival rate of bacteria and other microorganisms that contribute to food spoilage before, during, and after food preparation.
Food is safe when cooked at the right temperature—a temperature high enough to kill disease-causing microorganisms. You can check if the food is cooked thoroughly using a thermometer.
Here are the temperature requirements for every kind of food you want to cook:
- For red meats, such as beef, lamb, pork, and veal, the internal temperature should be at least 145F, but allow the meat to rest for at least three minutes before eating.
- For ground meats, the temperature should be at least 160F due to the high surface area.
- For poultry meats, such as turkey, chicken, duck, and ground meats, the temperature should be 165F.
- For casseroles and leftovers, the temperature required should be 165F.
- Consume Immediately
Cooked meals are supposed to be consumed immediately. When you leave them on the table for too long, the microorganisms may develop and propagate, spoiling the food and causing diseases to anyone who consumes it. Therefore, eat the cooked food as soon as they’re done cooking.
Cooking for a huge crowd is always fun and exciting. However, it’s important to understand the risk cooking carries. If you’re not careful enough, people who eat your food might be in danger. If that’s the case, follow the tips above to ensure safe and quality food before, during, and after food preparation.