Biggest Food Safety Mistakes Made by College Students | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

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...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

The Boston Cannons'

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

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

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

The Case for Red Meat

Diet Changes: 5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Plan

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

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

3 Nutrition Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make and How to Fix Them

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

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

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

Tips for Healthy Weight Gain

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

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

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

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