As much as some would like to rely on grocery stores and markets to keep their products uncontaminated, pathogens can latch onto food and drinks without it being anyone’s fault. Everyone needs to eat, but sometimes food can spell trouble when proper precautions aren’t taken. Heed the following steps to protecting your foods, and you can safeguard yourself and others from consuming the unsafe ones.

Keep It Clean
Companies like Agrifood Technology have the tools and resources to track multiple pathogens, toxic chemicals, and more over thousands of samples; they’re responsible for many other companies’ crops and livestock products when it comes to health risks. You can employ one simple method to keep a similar standard of safety: clean food and every affected surface, including your hands before, during, and after handling. Any chemicals that might make contact with your food supply should be moved. While you may never be able to test specifically for certain mycotoxins or judge your kitchen’s salmonella risk, keeping things clean will help avert danger.

Cook Thoroughly
Some foods can be enjoyed with a minimum of heat, but unless you know for sure, it’s best to cook things properly before eating. This can remove all the disease-causing microorganisms in a piece of food, so long as it’s cooked thoroughly at the right temperatures. From meat to vegetables to soup, knowing the right levels of heat for whatever you make can keep complications at bay.

Separate Raw And Cooked
Raw foods with juices, namely meats, are breeding grounds for bacteria and other microorganisms. Storing them alongside cooked foods is a quick way to cross-contaminate them, so it’s imperative that you keep the two apart. This goes for cooking them together and sharing utensils between them, too. If you must use the same items, though, be sure to sanitize them before moving onto cooked foods.

Maintain Temperatures
Pathogens love warm environments, particularly at room temperature. If food is kept cold (or frozen), however, microorganism growth can be slowed down or stopped. The same is true of high temperatures, as one finds with freshly-cooked food. Try not to let food sit in room temperature for long; refrigerate or freeze unfinished perishables.

Staying knowledgeable and alert is your best chance of thwarting disease. Your cooking space might not be perfectly safe, but good cooking practices will do most of the protecting for you.

Author's Bio: 

Emma is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2