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Food Safety Best Practices

In today’s article, we will give you relevant knowledge on how to avoid foodborne illnesses by observing the best practices when it comes to shopping, cooking, preparing, storage and other aspects of your food business process.

The Food Safety Best Practices campaign has come up with four easy-to-follow steps that you can use to ensure food safety at each step of the food preparation process in your establishment.

  • Clean – Be sure to wash your hands and the surfaces you work on thoroughly in between tasks.
  • Separate – Avoid cross-contamination by storing uncooked food separately from cooked food.
  • Cook – Set the right temperature when cooking.
  • Chill – Place food in the refrigerator on time.

Shopping:

  • When shopping, start with un-perishables and then follow with frozen items.
  • Check poultry or meat packaging for any leaks prior to purchasing.
  • Don’t purchase expired food and always check your labeling.

Storage:

  • Place perishable foods in the refrigerator within 1 or 2 hours of purchase.
  • Use an appliance thermometer to routinely check your freezer’s temperature and make sure that it is at 0 °F, while your refrigerator should be at a temperature of 40 °F.
  • Fish, fresh poultry and ground meats should be frozen within two days of being cooked, while lamb, pork, veal, and beef must be frozen within 3 to 5 days.
  • Avoid meat juices from flowing out and reducing the quality of your meat and poultry by wrapping it carefully before you refrigerate it.
  • Do not expose canned foods to freezing temperatures, and get rid of cans that look swollen, rusted or otherwise dented. While you can keep low-acid foods like vegetables and meat for 3 to 5 years in a can, high-acid foods like tomatoes and fruit can only last for 12 to 18 months.

Preparation:

  • Use soap and warm water to wash your hands at least 20 seconds before you start handling any type of food.
  • Poultry, raw meat, and fish should be kept separately from other foods in order to avoid cross-contamination. Also, use hot water and soap to wash surfaces, hands, and utensils after using them for raw meat preparation.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach into a gallon of water to make super sanitizer for your utensils, cutting boards and surfaces.
  • When marinating meat or poultry, keep it in a covered dish and place it in the refrigerator.

Thawing:

  • Safely monitor the thawing process to ensure that the juices from thawing poultry and meat don’t drip onto, and contaminate other food in the fridge.
  • A quick and efficient way to thaw food is to place it in a leak-proof plastic bag, and then submerging that into a larger bowl of cold tap water. After changing the water every 30 minutes, you can then cook your food once it’s thawed.
  • If using a microwave, be sure to cook the thawed food immediately after you’ve taken it out.

Cooking:

  • Use a food thermometer to measure your cooking temperature, and make sure that foods like chops, lamb, veal, pork, poultry, and beef maintain an internal temperature of 145°F or higher.
  • All ground meats, on the other hand, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F.
  • Lastly, poultry should be cooked at an internal temperature of 165 °F minimum.

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