Food safety is an issue that we should always to keep in mind. Here are a few basic guidelines to remember during this season regarding snacks, munchies, buffets, potlucks and office parties that are key to food safety.
wash your hands
Hand washing is essential. Washing hands in warm, soapy water eliminates many of the culprits that can cause foodborne illness, as well as the common cold and flu. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing food. Not sure how long 20 seconds is? Singing or humming two verses of “Happy Birthday” while lathering should add up to the required amount of time you have to spend in the suds.
Safe handling of food
When handling raw meat, fish, and seafood, be careful not to spill or splash juices from the food onto other items in your food prep area. By being careful to avoid splashes, you can limit the chance of cross-contamination. Cross-contamination occurs when uncooked protein-rich food juices, e.g. B. Splash meat, fish or poultry onto the chopping board or colander where you place the products; This leads to cross-contamination and can create conditions that cause foodborne illness.
When buying pre-packaged lettuce, they were washed in chlorinated water during processing. However, if you buy loose, unpackaged vegetables, you should rinse them in lukewarm or lukewarm water.
Fruits with skins such as melons, oranges and pineapples should be washed before use to prevent bacteria from being transferred from the outside in when you cut the fruit. Firm fruits and vegetables should be scrubbed lightly with a vegetable brush.
Keep hot food hot and cold food cold
By storing food at appropriate temperatures, you can minimize the risk of foodborne illness. Hot food must be above 140°F and cold food should be kept at temperatures of 40°F or below. Most refrigerators have a temperature of 40 oF or less. It is not recommended to hold food at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F – this area is considered a “danger zone”. It is considered the “danger zone” because this is the temperature range in which bacteria can rapidly grow and multiply. For example, if you’re using a slow cooker, it’s important to ensure that the food you’re cooking reaches a temperature of 140 oF or more within four hours.
To ensure food is reaching the recommended cooking temperature, I advise my customers to invest in a food thermometer. They are relatively cheap and offer security. You’ll know the food has been cooked to the recommended cooking temperature, reducing the risk of overcooking. Unfortunately, fixing boil over is a difficult task.
On the label
Read food labels and understand the dates on the packages. Sometimes when products are on sale or appear to be of great value, this reduced price can be due to the product being very close to the proposed product use by Date.
Products are often dated or stamped to give you an idea of when to use the food to enjoy it at its best flavor and quality. Below are examples of dating and what they mean:
- The “expiry date” tells the store how long the product should be available for sale. You should purchase the product before the date expires.
- For best taste or quality, the “Best if Used By (or Before)” date is recommended. It is not a purchase or security date.
- The “Use By” date is the last date recommended for use of the product at optimal quality. The date was set by the product manufacturer.
By following these food safety guidelines, you can serve everyone a healthy and enjoyable season of good food.
Bring away: Safe food-handling practices are important – they will ensure everyone has good holiday memories for the best of reasons.
Thanks to Michelle J Stewart