Microwave Food Safety

There are simple techniques you can use to ensure that food cooked in microwave is safe to eat.

"Cold spots" are the biggest problem in microwave oven. They are the main reason for
microwave related foodborne illnesses, because if food is not cooked evenly, the pathogen bacteria survive.

Tips to Microwave Food:
  • If there is no turntable, then food must be manually rotated.
  • Place thicker portions of food toward the exterior of the microwave dish.
  • All containers must be microwave safe. Never use storage containers like cheese containers, margarine tubs or any others than can cause chemical reaction to migrate into food.
  • Cover food you are cooking or reheating to provide safe and even heating.
  • Never let plastic wraps or thin plastic storage bags touch food you are cooking.
  • Never microwave baby formula or baby food because of possibility of uneven heating.
  • Do not use foam trays and store wraps for defrosting or cooking because they are not heat stable and chemicals can migrate into food due to heat.
  • Always cook meat immediately after micro thawing because some areas of frozen food may begin to cook during the defrosting time.
  • Heat leftovers and precooked food to at least 74ºC (165ºF). It should be steaming and hot to the touch.
  • Never partially cook food in microwave. Use thermometer to verify the food has reached a safe temperature.

  • If you are not sure your utensils are microwave safe, do a little utensil safety test. Place the empty utensil into microwave oven alongside with 1 cup of water in a glass measure. Microwave on high for about 1 minute. If your dish remains cool, it's safe to microwave.

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Did You Know?
Bacteria (especially E. coli) may be used to replicate DNA in the form of a plasmid. This DNA is often chemically modified in vitro then inserted into bacteria to select for the desired traits and isolate the desired product from by-products of the reaction. After growing the bacteria and thereby replicating the DNA, the DNA may be further modified and inserted into other organisms. More...
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Bacteria grow best in the temperature range between 4ºC and 60ºC. Temperature below 4ºC, and temperature between 60ºC and 74ºC, will not kill bacteria, but it will not allow them to multiply enough times to cause an illness. In order to kill pathogenic bacteria you need temperatures above 74ºC. Temperature is the easiest factor to control in order to prevent bacterial growth.
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Bacterial intoxication will typically have shorter incubation period than infection (with sudden onset), which usually only lasts one day and fever is rarely present. More...
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Improperly handled food and equipment, poorly washed dishes and multi-service articles have potential to spread pathogenic bacteria and open the door for dangerous foodborne diseases. More...

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