An estimated 4 million Canadians get sick from foodborne illnesses every year. Bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other pathogens can cause stomach discomfort, fever, and even more severe symptoms. An estimated 4,000 people are hospitalized each year due to foodborne illnesses.
If you work in the food industry, it’s crucial that you take the following steps to keep your food safe:
Make sure you’re practising proper hygiene. Start with making sure that your employees are properly washing their hands before handling food and using gloves. Sanitize all countertops, sink faucets, and utensils regularly with safe disinfectant.
Keep the Food Fresh
It’s crucial that you only use fresh food. Check expiration dates regularly. Don’t leave food outside of the fridge if you don’t need it right away. Make sure every employee understands stock rotation, how to correctly store ingredients so that the items with the latest expiration dates are sent to the back of the fridge.
Store the Food Properly
Storing your food properly is crucial to prevent bacteria from growing. Storing food in moist conditions will increase the likelihood of bacteria growing. Avoid keeping food in the sun or heat. Bacteria are most likely to grow between 4°C – 60°C (40°F – 140°F). Make sure that you are storing each product optimally. Beware that bacteria are more likely to grow on protein and animal-based foods, as well as on cooked vegetables and starches.
Separate cooked and raw poultry, meat, and seafood. Don’t store them together in the fridge. Avoid using the same utensils and cutting boards for vegetables, raw meat, and cooked meat. Thoroughly wash everything that raw meat touches, especially your hands.
Cook All Food
Make sure all of the food that you prepare is properly cooked. Fully cooking your food will ensure that all bacteria are killed. Use a food probe thermometer to verify final cooking temperature. Make sure that you are only using filtered water to prepare food. Boiled water is safe as well.