Food and Safety Tips for the Kitchen

Our kitchens, especially the counter tops seem to be a drop off for everything from mail, backpacks,, grocery bags and even the family pet!! At some time you may have thought you had a mild case of the flu but in fact it was actually a case of food poisoning. Hand washing is the first and foremost way to prevent food borne illnesses. Many people begin their food preparation without washing their hands or disinfecting the countertops. All foods need to be prepared, cooked and stored properly to ensure and maintain safety. Fresh fruits and vegetables need to be thoroughly washed (even if the bag says pre washed) before cutting and eating. Fruits and vegetables that are being peeled are also in need of a good wash since you will be passing a knife through the peel to get at the flesh. It is always good to remember you don’t know how many hands have had contact with this item before you purchased it! Raw meats, poultry and sea food must be prepared on a designated cutting board to avoid cross contamination with other foods. As well, these items must be properly wrapped and stored on the lowest shelf in the fridge to avoid any juices dripping on other foods. Bacterial growth increases rapidly when foods are left to thaw or defrost on the counter top. Try and plan your meals ahead and defrost in the fridge overnight. By using a food thermometer, you can be sure your food is at a safe consumption temperature. Don’t over crowd your fridge. The cold air must be free to circulate around everything in the fridge and maintain the safe temperature of 4′C or 40′F. Be sure to also chill your leftovers within a two hour span and properly cool items before placing them in the fridge or freezer to avoid raising the temperature of the fridge or freezer.

Two beneficial web sites are The Canadian Food Inspection Agency. This site lists any food recalls. www.inspection.gc.ca A new site to be aware of is www.befoodsafe.ca.