Eating and Nutrition

The Top 5 Dangerous Cooking Mistakes You are (Possibly) Making

All of us make our fair share of mistakes in the kitchen, but some of them are more dangerous than others.

We strongly believe that healthy cooking is safe cooking, first of all. Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of the bad choices they are making as they cook.

Below are the top 5 common cooking mistakes that can result in major health issues.

a cook making dangerous cooking mistake

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The Top 5 Dangerous Cooking Mistakes

1. Tasting the leftover food if you’re not sure it is still good. If the food was cooked a while ago and/or was not stored properly, it’s better to play safe and just throw it out. Sometimes even a little bit of contaminated food can cause serious foodborne illness. (Yes, even if it still smells alright. You can’t smell all the potentially dangerous bacteria!) Needless to say that if the food doesn’t smell good, tasting it “just to be sure” is a sure-fire way to get a food poisoning.

By the way, do you know for how long can you store cooked foods in the fridge? This chart of storage times for the refrigerator and freezer contains some answers.

2. Putting the cooked meat back on the surface that was holding the raw meat. The dishes which were in contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs should not be used to hold the ready-to-eat foods. The juices of these raw products may contain harmful bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. These bacteria will be destroyed by thorough cooking, but the prepared food can get contaminated through the raw juices remaining on the unwashed surfaces. So make sure to either wash the used plate with hot water and soap, or to use a different plate for a cooked meal.

3. Washing meat, fish, or poultry before cooking. The truth is, some of the bacteria cannot be removed by washing no matter how many times you washed. Cooking the food to the right temperature will do a great job of destroying the dangerous bacteria whether you rinse it or not. So the only result you may achieve by washing the meat first is getting your sink, counters, and other foods contaminated if the water happens to splash onto them.

4. Tasting raw dough, cake batter, raw mince or any other foods with uncooked eggs or meat. Naturally, you want to make sure that cookie dough tastes good and the mince contains just the right amount of salt and pepper, but it’s a dangerous thing to do before your food has reached a temperature high enough to destroy foodborne bacteria (i.e. was cooked).

5. Thawing or marinating food on the counter instead of refrigerator.  At room temperature (anything between 40 and 140°F) bacteria multiply rapidly and can double every 20 minutes. The more bacteria, the greater the chance not all of it will be destroyed by cooking and you could become sick. Always marinate (or unfreeze) raw meat, poultry, and fish in the refrigerator. Cold temperatures keep harmful bacteria from multiplying so quickly. The funny thing is, there are also certain foods which should never be placed in the fridge.

Ready to Re-think Your Kitchen Routine?

No matter if you’re a professional or a home cook, everyone makes some mistakes while cooking. Some are insignificant — others can lead to serious consequences. Remember when and where you need to take extra precaution — and share this publication with others to keep them safe, too.

Have you been making any of these 5 common cooking mistakes? Get the discussion started in the comment section below!