Biggest Food Safety Mistakes Made by College Students

April 9, 2013 | Kait Fortunato

Must See Nutrition Videos

It's not easy to get started becoming independent in college, especially in the kitchen. Learning to prepare your own meals, do the grocery shopping, and reheat leftovers can be a challenge. You need to spend just as much time learning about food safety as you do about healthy cooking and easy meals. (See Be Immune to Getting Sick.)

Cross contamination, expired foods, and improperly re-heating foods can lead to food-borne illness, which can be serious. Here are the biggest mistakes college students make in the kitchen:

Leaving perishable food outside the refrigerator for more than 2 hours

Keep cold food cold (40 degrees F or lower) and keep hot food hot (140 degrees F or higher). Do not eat anything that has been sitting out for more than 2 hours, as it probably has reached the perfect temperature for viruses to grow.

Not using a food thermometer for cooking

This is one of the most important kitchen gadgets, because it allows you to easily determine if your food is properly cooked. Reference this chart for proper internal temperatures.

Thawing foods in the wrong place

Never thaw food on the counter or in the microwave. Try to plan your meals so you know when to defrost things from the freezer, and thaw them in the main part of the fridge.

Trusting your common room microwave

It is common in college settings for various appliances (iron, fridges, hair dryers) to compete for electric current, and as a consequence, they may not work as effectively. If you use a strange microwave, make sure to double-check your food using the thermometer.

Failing to guard against cross contamination

This begins in the grocery store when you place things in your shopping cart. Make sure your meat does not drip onto your fresh fruits or vegetables. If using reusable bags, wrap meat separately and throw the bags in the laundry when you get home. When preparing food, use different cutting boards and knives and wash your hands between steps. (See How to Prevent Food Poisoning From Leafy Greens and Other Contaminated Foods.)

As always, remember the golden rules of food safety: Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill.

Using leftover plastic containers in the microwave

The heat can cause them to warp and let harmful chemicals penetrate the food items.

Source

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/Food_Safety_Tips_for_College_Students/index.asp#1

Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Must See
Colin Kaepernick Explains His Ridiculous Socks
Views: 27,860,608
Brandon Jennings: "Always Improve"
Views: 4,232,968
Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick
Views: 20,641,762

Featured Videos

Abby Wambach's Med Ball Core Workout Views: 187,099
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 12,178
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 5: Fundamentals Training Views: 220,234
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,842
Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose
Views: 3,539,378
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,865,919
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,798,784
Johny Hendricks Workout Overview
Views: 822,554

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

Dietary Fiber We learned recently why carbohydrates are not the enemy and are so important, especially for athletes. One of the main reasons to obtain...

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

The Case for Red Meat

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

The Boston Cannons'

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Why You Should Always Say No to Diet Foods

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

The Best Foods for Digestive Health