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pexels-gustavo-fring-4920544 - Copy (2)-1-washing-produceIs your kitchen a hot zone for danger?

The old adage of if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen is a good one to keep in mind. While your kitchen may not literally be "hot", it could be a hotbed for food safety missteps. 


Who Is Most At Risk?

Foodborne illnesses are no joke, especially if you fall into these four categories: persons over 65 years old, children under 5 years old, immunocompromised persons (or those with health issues), and persons who are pregnant. While these four groups are at the highest risk for bad "food poisoning", anyone can contract food poisoning.

Top 4 Tips For A Healthy Kitchen*

Young couple using the internet to look up recipe

1. Cleanliness is next to godliness.

Always make sure you wash and sanitize your hands thoroughly before handling foodstuffs, or items that are used to prepare food. On that same note, sanitize all surfaces and items that will be used for food preparation. Lastly, rinse your produce off before use.


2. The great divide.

One way to minimize the possibility of food poisoning is to separate high-risk items (raw meats, eggs, poultry, seafood) from the rest of the fridge. Don't store high-risk items on the top shelf of your fridge; that way if the packaging leaks, you will not end up with blood or juices ending up on other items. When preparing high-risk items, always use separate cutting boards and plates. 

Curtailing risk can even start when you are shopping! Keep raw meats, seafood, poultry, and eggs separate from other items in your cart, and make sure liquids from them do not touch other groceries.

3. Check the temperature.
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As you cook, take note of the actual temperature of your food. Now, you may be thinking, when I cook chicken I know when it's done... but did it actually reach an internal temperature of 165°F? Making sure that you have cooked your food to a safe temperature is best done by checking the food with a food thermometer. Learn more about Food Temperature Safety.

 

Is it cooked? Check out these safe cooking temperatures.*
Food Category Food Type Safe Internal Temperature Notes
Ground Meats & Mixtures Beef, Pork, & Lamb 160°F  
Turkey & Chicken 165°F
Fresh Beef, Pork, Veal, & Lamb   145°F Let meat rest for 3 minutes prior to taking the internal temperature.
Poultry Turkey & Chicken (Whole) 165°F  
Poultry Parts 165°F
Duck & Goose 165°F
Stuffing (Cooked alone or inside the bird) 165°F
Ham Fresh (Raw) 160°F  
Pre-Cooked (To Reheat) 140°F
Eggs & Egg Dishes Eggs   Cook until the yolk & egg white is firm.
Egg Dishes 160°F  
Seafood Fin Fish 145°F The flesh will be opaque and flaky (easily separates with a fork).
Shrimp, Lobster, & Crabs   The flesh will be pearly & opaque.

Clams, Oysters, & Mussels

The shells will open during cooking when they are done.
Scallops The flesh will be milky white & firm.
Leftovers & Casseroles   165°F  
*To determine a safe cooking temperature, make sure to use a food thermometer to take the internal temperature.
Source: The U.S. Food & Drug Administration

 

SHOP FOOD THERMOMETERS

 

4. Stay Cool (Literally).

Keeping food cool prior to cooking, and then cooling promptly after a meal, is imperative to keeping bacteria from thriving. Keep your fridge at 40°F or below. If you have perishables out and about, get them back in the fridge within 2 hours after cooking. Thaw food in the fridge or in the microwave so bacteria don't have a chance to grow.

*These tips are all from the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/keep-food-safe.html. 


How Can Food Manufacturers Keep Consumers Safe?pexels-anna-shvets-5953716_worker_in_a_cheese_factory.

 

Food manufacturers, the FDA, USDA, and AOAC, all work together to ensure that the food that you are eating is safe for consumption. This is all completed using a variety of procedures, tests, and regulations. A sampling of tests performed to keep you safe is below.

 

Food-Safety-Blog-Manufacurer

  • HACCP Safety Plans
    • HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Points. These points are considered to be key in identifying and assessing risk throughout the food manufacturing process to prevent and control hazards.  
  • GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices)
    • GMP comes from federally recognized regulations that detail the conditions, equipment, controls, and methodology to keep food processing safe. 
  • GLP (Good Laboratory Practices)
    • Just as GMP covers safety and proper practices throughout the manufacturing process, GLP refers to proper practices in a laboratory setting.

  • Produce rinse baths, Chlorine
  • FAA (Free Fatty Acids)
    • Measuring fats and oils for rancidity can help determine the grade of the oil, stability, flavor, texture, and safety of the end product.
  • Peroxide Value
    • Peroxide value, just like FAA helps to determine whether or not the fats and oils have gone rancid. Titration and photometric methods are used to determine peroxide value.
  • Acidity
    • The acidity of food is important to prevent bacterial and microorganism growth in processed foods. This test is more than determining if a food is acidic. It is a titration that measures how much alkalinity the food can tolerate before the pH unit becomes more basic. This ability is what makes things such as canned foods (ie. jams, jellies, tomato sauces, hot sauces) shelf-stable.

  • Temperature
    • Temperature not only allows you to know when a product is done, but it can tell you if bacteria can still grow, if something is sanitized, or where food may be in the preserving process.
  • pH
    • Knowing where your food falls on the pH scale can determine the preparation process, as well as whether or not the food is safe for consumption.
  • Disinfection Tests
    • Disinfection is done throughout the food manufacturing process: on surfaces, water, packaging, preparation spaces - literally everywhere. Knowing that the space is clean and disinfected helps to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses.
  • Moisture
    • Measuring moisture of food is easy with Karl Fischer titration. Knowing that a food such as flour is in spec for the amount of moisture enables the manufacturer to determine the stability and safety of the ingredients and the finished product.
  • Water Activity
    • Water activity allows manufacturers to predict how stable a product is, and how likely the food is to grow bacteria, fungus, etc.
  • Microbe Cultures
    • Samples from surfaces, packaging, and foods can be taken to determine what, if any, harmful microbes are present.

The types of tests that need to be run to keep the product safe for the consumer are determined by the type of foodstuffs being produced. Everything from fresh vegetables to pet food to prepared restaurant food needs to be monitored to protect the consumers.  

Got Questions?

For more information regarding how Hanna Instruments can help you with your food safety needs, contact us, at sales@hannainst.com or 1-800-426-6287.


Resources:

www.cdc.gov/foodsafety

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