Since it's not required when cooking at home, most home chefs don't really know true food safety basics. But Fit Foodie Chef Mareya Ibrahim says if you don't handle your food properly, you and your family could be subjected to a foodborne illness.
"According to the FDA, half of the top 10 most foodborne illness causing foods are produce items, and the No. 1 cause is the greens," said Ibrahim.
Plus, we get produce globally.There are inspections, but they are limited.
"We have to realize the FDA can't sample and inspect everything that's coming across the border. About half of one percent of our imports are actually getting inspected," Ibrahim said.
For produce, there's no set rule other than rinse well with water. That's a start, but it doesn't clean effectively.
"Almost 80 percent of our produce is waxed to increase their shelf life. And waxes can contain fungicides, petrochemicals and other artificial additives. Problem with that is, you can't remove wax with water," said Ibrahim.
Vegetable surfactants like Eat Cleaner might be the answer.
Ibrahim's father, a food scientist, was affected by food poisoning, which prompted him to develop the cleaner. It not only removes bacteria - but it can also lengthen the shelf life of produce.
it's easy and convenient, but not the only solution.
"You can use a little mild dish soap, you can add raw apple cider vinegar to your water and soak your produce. Salt is a natural antimicrobial which can help to kill bacteria as well," said Ibrahim.
Other smart tips: Use separate cutting boards - one for produce and one for protein. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Also keep in mind - two hours out of the fridge is the limit for perishables.
Then, make sure your fridge is set properly. Life, as in bacteria, begins at 40 degrees.
Finally, wash your hands before and sometimes during prep process when you've touched uncooked or unwashed foods.
The rule of thumb is singing happy birthday twice through, or about 20 seconds worth of scrubbing
Food safety tips home chefs should know to avoid foodborne illnesses
CIRCLE OF HEALTH