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Food Safety, Simply Put

Since July is National Food Safety Month, it only makes sense to discuss topics such as proper food handling and, well, food safety.
A study published in 2000 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revealed some startling numbers about foodborne illnesses. Each year:

  • 76,000,000 illnesses are cases of foodborne illnesses.
  • These foodborne illnesses cause 325,000 hospitalizations.
  • 5,000 deaths each year are caused by these foodborne illnesses.

In the past years, it can safely be assumed that these numbers have grown with the population size. However, it’s relatively easy to practice the prevention of foodborne illness.
Control Time and Temperature
Make sure to properly store you foods at the best temperatures, especially with foods that need to be refrigerated or frozen. When cooking, make sure to cook an item at the recommended temperature. Too low, and the item may be unsafe for consumption. An easy rule to remember is the temperature danger zone is between 41 degrees Fahrenheit and 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking or storing outside of this range will prevent most bacteria growth.

Avoid Cross Contamination
In dealing with raw foods, it’s essential to ensure that proper hand-washing techniques are being observed in between the handling of products. This is done to prevent any foodborne illnesses that normally occur within raw foods from being passed to other foods that may or may not have been prepared already.

Practice Proper Cleaning and Sanitizing Procedures
It’s good practice to know that before a surface can be sanitized, it has to be cleaned first. Leftover food particles can house and actually prevent germs and bacteria from being destroyed by sanitizing agents. Another tip is to keep the wiping cloth for the sanitizer with, or even in the sanitizing solution when not in use, instead of being slung over the shoulder or apron.

Practice Proper Hygiene Techniques
The last part is pretty simple. Wash your hands when moving from food to other activities and vice versa. This is the fundamental part of hygiene in food preparation, and the easiest rule to practice.

The facts and tips in here were pulled from “Food Safety 101,” available on our website or in our catalog in the ‘Food Service’ section.

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Six Picks: The Top 6 Things You Can Do For Food Safety

  1. Wash, wash, wash. Whether it’s your hands, your dishes, or your countertops, washing goes a long way towards keeping your kitchen safe.
  2. Keep raw foods away from other foods. Not only should you make sure all your raw foods are away from your cooked foods, but try not to share utensils between those two groups, either wash things like pots and pans between uses, or have designated utensils. For instance, maybe instead of using the same cloth towel to clean up after your foods, use paper towels for raw foods to prevent bacteria from spreading.
  3. Pick up cold foods last. When grocery shopping, save the frozen and cold food aisles for last. This gives you the longest amount of time to ensure that your foods stay in the safe temperature ranges before you can store them properly at home.
  4. Keep the good cans. Don’t buy canned goods with dents or bulges in them. Those nooks and crannies are safe-havens for bacteria to grow and multiply.
  5. Remember the Three C’s. When transporting food, keep your food clean, cold and covered whenever possible. When foods are left out in temperatures over 90°F for an hour or more, you can be sure bacteria has already started to grow.
  6. Be safe when dining out. Make sure the utensils and plates are clean. Inspect the plates for crack and crevices if necessary. Those cracks can hide bacteria in them.