By Janiece Attal
The Partnership for Food Safety Education, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Food and Drug Administration have come together since 1994 to educate both consumers and food establishments of the myths in food safety.
Here are 4 myths that can lead to foodborne illness*:
- Refrigerator produce bins do not need to be cleaned out regularly.
A NSF International study discovered that the produce compartment had the highest concertation of germs and bacteria in the kitchen. Some of these bacteria, like listeria, thrive in these types of environments. If you aren’t cleaning out these bins regularly, you not only risk contaminating your fresh produce, but also other items stored in the fridge.
- Thawing meat on the counter is ok.
Bacteria start to grow rapidly at room temperature. It is recommended to thaw food in the refrigerator, but many people feel that they do not have time. The USDA has a handy article that details how using cold water can speed up this process and keep your food safe. Link
- There’s no need to wash fruits or vegetables if I’m going to peel them.
When peeling fruits or vegetables, the blade of the knife or peeler is actually picking up the germs and bacteria on each pass. If you are not washing them first, it is extremely easy to contaminate your food.
- To really keep my produce safe, I should wash them with soap before I use them.
It is actually not recommended to use soaps or detergent of any kind on fruits or vegetables. Certain chemicals can linger on these foods that are not safe for consumption. Since the skin on many fruits is permeable, soaps can actually sink into it and contaminate the entirety of it.
*Myths adapted from information provided by FoodSafety.gov
Janiece Attal, Esq. is the Solution Manager of Food and Alcohol Services.