How to teach your children about the importance of food safety

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By Bentology

Teaching your kids to cook is a life skill that we’re sure they’ll thank you for down the road. And by showing your children how to make basic meals and recipes, you’re also giving them a headstart on being able to pack their own lunches. It’s a win-win for both you and your kids.

One of the most important steps in teaching your kids to cook is showing them how to safely wash, prepare and store foods. Practicing food safety is essential for protecting your family from food poisoning or foodborne illnesses. If you’ve been cooking for a long time, these may seem like basic knowledge, but remember that most kids are starting from a clean slate!

Remember these tips when teaching your kids about food safety:

  • Always wash hands before and during food prep. Use warm, soapy water and wash for 20 seconds before and after handling food, especially raw meat. Wash cooking surfaces often.
  • Always wash plates, cutting boards and kitchen surfaces after preparing raw meat, poultry or fish. Put food only on clean surfaces, never on a dirty table or counter. Also, make sure to keep backpacks off the counter, as they’ll carry germs from anywhere you’ve put them down. (Think: bathroom floors, the bus, or locker rooms!)
  • Wash fruits and veggies prior to eating, cutting or cooking. Rub fruits and veggies under cool tap water. For firm produce, like melons and cucumbers, scrub them with a clean produce brush.
  • When using knives, cut away from you. If you’re letting older children use knives, make sure they are cutting away from the body. Use separate cutting boards and utensils for veggies, meat and fish to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Refrigerate leftover food. Chill leftovers and takeout foods within 2 hours and keep the fridge at 40 ºF or below. Use an insulated lunch box and an ice pack to keep lunches cold when you plan on eating them later. (Shop for more Bentology food storage items here.) 
  • Use a food thermometer to check temperatures. You can’t tell if a food is cooked safely just by how it looks. Always place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the food, away from bone and fat to make sure the temperature is high enough to kill harmful bacteria and viruses.
  • Don't eat raw eggs. Not even in cookie dough :)

We love the USDA’s free food safety activity book download and mobile game- they make learning about food safety fun for kids!

Blog re-posted from Bentology.net

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