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In the kitchen: Tasters need safety check

Probably the most universally broken safety rules in the kitchen have to do with tasting. Good cooks taste food as they prepare it, to see if it is "seasoned" right, said Kathy Walsten, nutrition educator with Kansas State University Research and Extension.

Smart cooks could also stay out of trouble, Walsten added, by following some simple rules:

  • When you taste, use a clean spoon that hasn't been touched by anyone's mouth - including yours.
  • Before tasting most foods, cook them sufficiently to be safe. This can be especially important with dishes containing meat or poultry - the staples typically linked to food-borne illness. But, it's also why you should never lick the spoon, beaters or bowl from batter that contains raw eggs.
  • Even if you plan to peel them, thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before nibbling or cooking. Fresh produce also shows up occasionally in the news as a food-borne illness carrier.
  • To help avoid burns, taste hot foods with a wooden spoon.
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