When you make your own baby food, you can give your baby a tastier and more varied range of healthier foods than if you use commercially made products.
It takes little time and effort, and can be completely safe for baby – even though you don’t have the sterilising and cleaning equipment that industrial operations have. By following a few simple procedures you can ensure that your homemade baby food is free from food-borne pathogens and other infectious agents.
Basic rules for safe baby-food preparation:
- Always wash your hands well.
- Counter tops, utensils, pots and pans, cutting boards and blenders or food processors must be thoroughly cleaned – use an anti-bacterial soap (a natural anti-bacterial soap is fine if you prefer these to commercial cleansers).
- Never use the same cutting board for fruits, vegetables and other food items as you use for meats – have one cutting board solely for meat preparation and a separate one for vegetables, fruits,etc.
- A wooden cutting board is safer than a plastic one, as it is easier to clean bacteria from a wooden board.
How to prepare your baby’s food safely…
Fruits and Vegetables:
- Always thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables that you are going to use for your baby food – even if they are produced organically, or you are going to peel them, (depending on your baby’s age, some fruits or vegetables may not need to be peeled, but they should always be washed well).
- Peel the fruits or vegetables carefully, making sure that you remove all tough skin and peel.
- Always remove stones (pits) and seeds.
- If you are going to use frozen meat, do not thaw it on the counter top, always thaw it in the refrigerator or a microwave – but be sure that it is completely defrosted.
- Make sure that you have clean hands when handling meats- or use plastic gloves if possible.
- If you move from preparing meats to preparing another food item, always wash your hands before handling the next food.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling meats – particularly poultry products (including eggs).
- Do no use the same preparation surfaces or the same utensils that have been used for meat for your fruits or vegetables.
Meats, poultry, fish and eggs for your baby should always be ‘well done’ – never semi-cooked or raw. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature:
- red meats should be cooked to at least 71C (160F) internal temperature
- white poultry meats should be cooked to at least 82C (170F) internal temperature
- dark poultry meats should be cooked to at least 82C (180F) internal temperature
- fish should be cooked to at least 71C (160F) internal temperature
Store your prepared baby foods safely:
- Do not leave uncooked or cooked foods on the counter top at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
- Frozen foods should not be thawed and then re-frozen unless you cook them, then re-freeze them. Frozen foods should be kept at -18C(0F) or lower.
- Prepared foods for your baby should be kept in the refrigerator for no longer than 48-72 hours before they are used or frozen.
- Freezer storage times vary, but it is best to use frozen baby foods within one month.
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.