Food for Thought Blog

Maintaining Food Safety at Home

April 1st, 2020Awareness

Food safety is important in restaurants, food banks and other food establishments but it’s not always top of mind in our home. In fact, an estimated 97% of foodborne illnesses are as a result of the way people store or prepare food.

Keep you and your family safe at home by following these safe food handling tips when storing and preparing food:

  • Thaw perishable food in a sealed container in the refrigerator, microwave or cold water outside of the temperature danger zone of 4 ֯ C (40 ֯ F) to 60 ֯ C (140 ֯ C).
  • Cover and refrigerate or freeze leftover food within 2 hours or less after the food has cooled down from cooking.
The following steps can help reduce the risk of bacteria growth on food:
  1. Follow good hand washing hygiene. Wash your hands, in between your fingers and finger nails with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before, after and during the handling of food.
    Note: This includes after taking out garbage, coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose, using the washroom, handling raw meats and touching pets.
  2. When in doubt, throw the food out. By inspecting, tasting or smelling a food we can’t tell if it is contaminated with bacteria.
  3. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw and cooked foods separate. Use different utensils and food preparation tools (e.g. cutting boards, dishware, etc.) for fresh produce, raw meats and cooked/prepared foods.
  4. Wash and sanitize food contact surfaces regularly. Wash surfaces and dishware with hot soapy water, rinse with clean water, sanitize with a household bleach solution (1 tsp bleach with 3 cups hot water) and let air dry.
  5. Reheat leftovers to an internal temperature of 74 ֯ C (165 ֯ F), using a digital thermometer to accurately check the temperature.
  6. Wash and scrub fruits and vegetables under cool running water with a produce brush to help remove any dirt or bacteria. Cut off any mold or bruises with a knife.
  7. Pregnant women, elderly, infants and individuals with weak immune systems are at greater risk for food borne illness and should ensure they follow safe food handling procedures routinely.