Category: kitchen

Microwaves that heat unevenly: food safety problems?

Consumer Reports latest tests of microwaves found few models that evenly cooked food — thus leaving some portions undercooked, with potential dangerous pathogens. You might not even know you’re eating undercooked food.

An estimated 76 million cases of foodborne illness occur annually in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are only 313 million people in the U.S., implying that potentially one third of the U.S. population has a foodborne illness at least once a year.

Consumer Reports recommends:

  • If cooking directions suggest letting food stand for a few minutes, allow it. The additional minutes allow the heat to spread throughout the food and continue the cooking process.
  • Consider stirring the food, such as halfway through the microwaving process. It will help distribute the warmth and help to ensure even cooking.
  • If your microwave has a lower wattage rating, you may need to cook your food longer. Be careful to compare the directions with that wattage of your microwave.

(Microwaves that heat unevenly can pose food safety problems)

Microwave a sponge to remove germs

Researchers at the University of Florida found that microwaving a kitchen sponge for two minutes killed 99 percent of all living germs and bacterial spores in sponges and pads, including E. coli, in about a minute.

University of Florida engineers Gabriel Bitton: “A dishwasher will not remove completely the microbes, unless you use chlorine and chlorine smells. So I think the best way to do it is simply wet your sponge, don’t do it with a dry sponge, wet the sponge, and put it in the microwave for about two minutes and the sponge will be sterilized.”

The engineers recommend:
– ensure the sponge is completely wet
– two minutes of microwaving is sufficient for most sterilization
– sponges should also have no metallic content
– be careful when removing the sponge from the microwave, as it will be hot.

(via University of Florida)