Food poisoning seems to be the catch-all term for our bodies’ reaction to contaminated food. But there are many different kinds of “food poisoning” ranging from mild to severe. Some of us may not take safe food handling seriously, but the reality is that some foodborne illnesses can cause major health issues that could cause great harm or even death. Here are the most common foodborne illnesses, according to the CDC, and brought to you by Probe It Food Safety. Norovirus Considering that the norovirus comes from vomit and feces, it’s unsettling that this germ is the leading foodborne illness, more-so that restaurants are its number one source. Symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, stomach pain, headache, general aches and pains, dehydration Method of Transmission: small traces of vomit or feces enter your mouth, usually through contaminated food. If someone with the virus doesn’t wash their hands before preparing food; if your food is grown in contaminated water without being properly washed; or, if surfaces [...]
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If you read that title expecting to find the magic cure to stop everyone from being allergic to your food, we’re sorry to tell you that it’s impossible. You can do everything to protect your customers from biting into something that they shouldn’t, but in the end, your customer is also responsible for getting tested for allergies and staying vigilant about reading the list of ingredients. It’s your responsibility to keep your customers away from harmful ingredients by following these essential steps: Separate Your Cooking Utensils If you cook using the major food allergens like gluten, peanuts, and shellfish, we highly recommend using completely different cutting boards, knives, utensils, cookware, and even appliances. It might seem like overkill, but once you realize that some allergies are so bad that even the smell of an allergen can cause someone to go into anaphylactic shock, you understand that it’s an expense that could save lives. Warn Patrons Before They Walk In This costs nothing more than [...]
Want to get serious about food safety? Then it’s time to take a look at your kitchen. It doesn’t matter if you have the most expensive non-stick pans money can buy. Here are five indispensable food safety kitchen gadgets that are worth their weight in gold. #1: Thermometer Most of us know what the perfect steak looks like. Whether you like it blue, medium, or well-done, you can tell the second it’s ready by its inner colouring—except that, we can’t always trust our eyes. It’s more important to eat meat that is cooked than to eat meat that looks the right colour, which can lead to a wealth of consequences, food poisoning being the most obvious one. A meat thermometer is an easy and inexpensive way to guarantee your meat is cooked through. #2: Shallow Containers If you often cook enough food to store leftovers, the best way to keep your food safe is to divide them up into smaller portions and pack them [...]
The words children and sanitation don’t really go together. Our kids aren’t afraid to put anything in their mouths, whether it’s germy hands or some foreign object they find on the ground. While their bravery and curiosity about how the world tastes can be admired, it’s also one of the reasons our children are constantly getting sick. Teaching our kids to cover their nose when they sneeze or cough is important. Teaching kids about proper food safety is just as essential. Here’s how to educate your children about proper food handling in a way that’s age-appropriate and easy to learn. Make it Fun At young ages, children take to information much faster when there is an element of fun attached to it. For instance, we all know our ABCs because we sing them the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” And some of us may remember bright and colourful flash cards that helped us learn how to add and subtract. Think of fun ways [...]
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: Sanitize Everything 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 [...]
With so many “food handling experts” online, you can easily adopt a wrong food practice. A simple online search about food safety, like “tips to ensure food safety,” will give a million results. Sieving facts from food safety myths can be difficult, which is why you should only trust the experts with a triple star guarantee. Otherwise, you may land in serious hot water. Myth #1: Freezing Kills Bacteria This is one of the most popular beliefs, but it’s wrong. No matter how low you keep the temperature, you cannot kill bacteria. Low temperatures only make the bacteria inactive. When the food is thawed, the bacteria revive and thrive on the favorable temperature, causing food-borne illnesses. You can only kill bacteria by heating your food to higher temperatures. If you’re cooking meat, for example, ensure you keep it hot held above 60°C (140°F) before serving it. Myth #2: Once Food Changes Colour, it’s Safe to Eat One mistake that most people in food service make [...]
Did you know that food-borne illness affects four million Canadians annually? That's one in eight of us coming down with some type of food poisoning. Yes, the cause may sometimes be external, and we are just unlucky. The romaine lettuce recalls that seem to plague us are perfect examples, but there may be many other reasons closer to home for getting sick. Does your company have a food safety training program in place to prevent being the cause of illness? Employees must wash their hands before touching food. As unbelievable as it seems, employees who handle foods do not always do so after toileting, changing diapers, handling animals, cleaning floors, handling money, etc. Many times, it is because they are rushed, but whatever the reason, it is simply something all employers have to enforce. Putting a safe food wellness program in place saves you money in several ways. Consider the expense of several people getting ill after eating at your facility due to your [...]
Practicing good food safety habits is paramount to maintaining a healthy kitchen. In this post, we'll review a few simple steps you can undertake to maintain food safety in your kitchen to keep you safe from germs. #1: Wash Your Hands This is the golden rule for cleanliness. Wash your hands early and often while cooking. Whenever you handle raw food you should wash your hands directly afterward. Always keep hand soap close to your kitchen sink for this specific purpose. #2: Disinfect Your Cutting Board Your cutting board is often the resting place for raw meat. Once you've finished cooking, disinfect your cutting boards. It's easy to forget your cutting board needs disinfecting as you serve dinner. Once the cooking is complete you often overlook this step. But to ensure no pesky bacteria lingers, make sure to wipe this down afterward with a disinfectant. #3: Take Your Garbage Out Often Several pathogenic bacteria usually end up in the garbage. After every cooking session, take [...]
Depending on how you handle your food, it can be either be a nutritional meal or recipe for intestinal disaster. This is why it is important to practice food safety throughout the food handling process; from purchase and storage to cooking and serving. Ignoring the basics of safe food handling can result in you and your family suffering from foodborne illnesses. Consider the following tips for food safety: #1: Observe Cleanliness This point is the first for obvious reasons. Wash your hands properly before handling food. Always use soap to rid bacteria found on your hands. Do not use a kitchen towel to dry your hands, rather, use a disposable paper napkin to eliminate cross-contamination. Clean the surfaces, utensils, and chopping board often. The bottom line is, ensure everything that gets in contact with your food is clean and sanitized. #2: Cook to the Right Temperature How well do you cook your food? Most bacteria thrive between 4°C to 60°C (40°F to 140°F) which [...]
The next series of food safety blogs will be related to food handler behavior. Personal habits of food handlers can have a direct impact on the safety of food. Food handlers can unintentionally become carriers of pathogenic micro-organisms to food or food contact surfaces. A few common personal hygiene behaviors are provided below for food handlers to follow in order to avoid food borne illnesses. Ensuring control of personal habits can prevent food borne illnesses from occurring. Follow Proper Tasting Methods It is important that proper techniques are used for tasting food. Do not use your finger, mixing spoon or tongs to taste food. These can introduce pathogenic micro-organisms into the food that can result in illness. Taste testing can be done in two ways: Transfer a small amount of food into a separate bowl and then taste it from there. Use a clean spoon to taste the food. Once food has been tasted, the dirty spoon must be washed in the dishwashing area. [...]