Cooking at Home More During COVID-19? What to Know About Food Safety

  • As many people continue to adhere to shelter-in-place recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are experimenting with cooking meals at home.
  • Novice cooks may not be aware that foodborne illnesses are a serious concern, especially when it comes to preparing meat-based dishes.
  • Many of the illnesses caused by contaminated food can result in diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, muscle pain, fatigue, and fever, among other symptoms.
  • Becoming familiar with safe food preparation recommendations can help reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses while cooking during this unprecedented time.

What are foodborne illnesses?

Foodborne illnesses are a common danger that comes from cooking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reportsTrusted Source that these illnesses cause about 48 million people to get sick, cause 128,000 to be hospitalized, and result in 3,000 deaths in the United States each year.

Protecting your food from contaminants
Wash your hands thoroughly — also a crucial reminder for COVID-19 prevention — by rinsing and lathering with soap and water before you touch any food items.
The impact of COVID-19

Once COVID-19 hit, a lot of conflicting and, at times, confusing information was shared about food safety.

Tamika Sims, PhD, director of food technology communications at the International Food Information Council, said that health authorities have conclusively affirmed that “there is no evidence that food or food packaging is spreading COVID-19.”

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Be mindful of food allergies

Now that more people are spending time together in their kitchens at home, they should be more mindful of the dietary concerns of those around them.

What if a roommate or family member has a peanut allergy? What if you are preparing gluten-containing meals near your partner who has celiac disease?

Thinking outside the box
For the new chef sheltering at home, what is the best way to start while still being key to avoid foodborne illnesses?

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