Finger lickers might think “no big deal” when sneaking samples, but good food prep is not just about swapping spit. Some serious microorganisms can be found on our skin, in throats and noses. Food pathogens can be transferred by improper handling and multiply rapidly at room temperature, sometimes resulting in nasty foodborne illness.
Unfortunately, it’s not usually possible to identify contaminated food by appearance, smell, or taste. Many times you won’t notice contaminated food until it’s too late. Symptoms of foodborne illness can include: vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, etc. One of the most overlooked ways to prevent foodborne illness is proper hand washing. Wash your hands (and utensils and cooking surfaces) in hot soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
Teach safe food handling practices to your sous chef kiddos. Have kids sing their ABCs while washing their hands – usually that’s enough time to get hands clean.