Is raw cookie dough one of your guilty pleasures? Beware flour recall

Is raw cookie dough one of your guilty pleasures? Do the kids love to lick the cake batter from the bowl and mixing spoons? Well you may want to re-consider giving in to these sweet temptations because of e.coli contamination! What is E. coli? This is a common bacteria that breeds on people and animals through their intestines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While this is not harmful, on many occasions it can be a harmful infectious strain and make us sick. Also referred to as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, these strains are normally contracted through contaminated food and water. If you are planning to make beef, it is important to have good knowledge about safe food handling to avoid any kind of spread of this E. coli bacterium. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a recall first on Robin Hood flour, however it has spread to other brands. The main concern with the recall is the consumption of the flour in its raw/uncooked state. As well as the spread of the pathogen in the flour to other surfaces and equipment in the kitchen E.coli lives in the intestines of animals and humans. It is commonly associated with under-cooked beef, specifically ground beef it can also found in contaminated water. Its transmission can occur through improper cooking temperatures, cross contamination, poor hand hygiene and ill food handlers. So itmakes sense to take every possible step to avoid the spread of this bacteria so that you can ensure the healthy life of your loved ones. Comprehensive food safety training can help understand the best steps required to prevent e.coli contamination. However in this case, it is possible for the soil to be contaminated by an infected animal or rodent that walks through a wheat field and defecates there. Additionally, manure is commonly used in enriching soil. E.coli would then be gathered up by a wheat harvester and spread throughout the harvested grain. 14 So how do you protect yourself, your family or your customers? Apart from the above steps, it is important that you keep a separate cutting board for beef and other products so that there is no chance of cross-contamination. Separate plates and utensils should be used for cooked and raw foods. Probe It Food Safety is a leading online platform where we offer the best offers food safety workshops and certification courses that can help you in preventing food-borne illnesses the spread of E. coli bacterium. For more information on the recall visit

Inventory Management

Inventory management is a key aspect of practicing proper food handling safety. Likewise, when done accurately, it can ensure no food goes to waste and saves money. This makes it on of the most important parts of a hotel or restaurant business. Inventory management begins at the door, before your food is allowed into storage. Assigning designated employees to manage inventory when it arrives will allow a smooth and consistent analysis. For proper safety of your customers as well as the team members, it is mandatory that the food should be inspected by these employees and they should not accept anything broken, open, leaking, or at the wrong holding temperature. The employees should be thoroughly trained in doing so appropriately. Proper food inspection is covered in detail in our food safety courses. Our food safety courses are exclusively designed to help businesses in almost every aspect of their business operations, including safe food handling as well as food inventory management. Once the shipment has been approved, the non-perishable foods should be organized in a pantry/ inventory room according to the First In, First Out (FIFO) method. This ensures that food with the closer expiry date is used in a timely manner – and does not go to waste by being thrown out, wasting money. A key storage method is to use containers that allow optimal spacing and are designed to keep food fresher, longer. Remember to keep your food off of the floor, at least 15 cm, to prevent and easily detect pests. A list of all inventory should also be kept on hand. This allows you to not waste money in buying extra food you do not currently need, granting you the guarantee that everything will be used. The list will also show you which foods quantity needs to be lessened in the next purchase, based off its usage. In terms of refrigerated food, it is very important to practice proper management to ensure longevity and food safety. The most important rule is to store food in the fridge no higher than 4 degrees Celsius. You should be able to monitor this temperature on the fridge thermometer. To ensure cold air circulation, you should not overstock the fridge. The order in which the food is stored is also very important for business when then want to ensure  preventing cross-contamination. Raw and uncooked food should always be placed on the last, bottom shelf. Above that can be unwashed produce as well as food items that would need to be reheated. Lastly, on the first shelf is ready-to-eat food. The fridge is where you should also utilize containers that allow optimal spacing and keeping the food fresh. Make sure to place the food items properly inside the refrigerator to avoid any kind of trouble. All these inventory management tips shall become second nature and ensure food safety with regular review and practice. To learn the details of proper procedures and test your own practices, be sure to take one of our food safety courses.

Importance of Food Handler Training

Why is food safety important? That is a question you might not hear often. Depending who is being asked you might get different response. A stay at home mother might tell you “because I don’t want my kids or husband to get sick”. A food manger might tell you “because not taking care of food safety in a business environment can harm the reputation of the business”. Whatever the scenario may be, one thing is for sure, knowing about food safety can protect you. Unfortunately food borne illnesses are under reported which makes it seem like it is not a big problem. Thousands of people fall ill due to lack of food handler education and training whether at home or work. The food industry and customers are challenged by this lack of education from food handlers. In addition, a food borne illness can have dire effect on children, seniors, pregnant women and individuals who have compromised immune systems. Why do you need food handler training? It’s legally required – Following the commitment to avoid the incidents of food-borne diseases across Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency made it mandatory that every individual responsible for cooking and handling food items in the commercial kitchen must have a food handling certificate. This means every employee in the industry should have valid proof of training. In many states, the certificate must be renewed at a regular interval. Value to your business – When you have a team of trained and skilled professionals with all the information about food handling safely, you can be sure to give a boost to your business by adding value to it. The training program is aimed to help professionals gain important knowledge and skills that not only protect the public but also let them make the most of opportunities for thousands of jobs available in the food service industry. It’s good for your business – As a business owner, the most important thing for you should be the business image that you must protect. You would not want your customers to spread negative words about improperly managed food safety at your place. This will only make your business a place where no one would want to eat. With the comprehensive food safety and food handling certificate, you can ensure having a team that is well-equipped with the knowledge of handling food safely. Food handling training is one of the best ways to ensure the safety of your customers as this allows your team to have the skills and knowledge to follow safe food practices. It has always been a basic survival concern so most food businesses are also opting for it to compete harder. In the modern days, the best way to keep your business on top of the choice of foodies, it makes sense to ensure the safety of the customers. This is only possible when your team follows proper food safety habits so that there are no chances of food-borne diseases when people eat at your place.

Humber College Food-borne Illness

Food-borne illness is serious and it is unfortunate that it usually is only brought to our attention after a significant outbreak, like what is currently unfolding at Humber College – North Campus. The number of people who have affected by the outbreak at Humber College has risen to nearly 200 as officials fight to understand its cause, Toronto Public Health said Saturday. As the illness was first brought to the public’s attention on Thursday, Humber College is doubling their efforts in cleaning and sanitizing, while members of the community are double their efforts of personal hygiene, such as handwashing! The Probe It Food Handler Certification course provides various details about the the many types of food-borne illness, their causes, and preventive measure that should be taken. Although the causative agent in this outbreak has not yet been identified, it is likely to be a virus.Viruses are very small micro-organisms that do not multiply on food. Viruses multiply by growing in a living cell. A relatively small amount of virus is enough to cause illness in humans. The most common way food can become contaminated with a virus is by food handlers hands. The simplest and most effective was on preventing the spread of viruses is to stay home when ill and to practice proper handwashing. Hands should be washed using the 6 steps of handwashing: DON’T FORGET: If able, open the door with paper towel. Common Viruses to Cause Illness: Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A virus is transmitted via the faecal-oral route, i.e. when a person ingest contaminated faeces of an ill person. This can either happen through consuming contaminated water, consuming food that has been washed with contaminated water (fruits/vegetables), poor personal hygiene, improper hand washing. Symptoms can include fever, diarrhea, nausea and jaundice. Hepatitis A infection can be prevented by consuming and using only potable (drinkable) water, and practices good personal hygiene, such as frequent hand washing. Norovirus: Norovirus can be transmitted via the stool or vomit of an infected individual. Contamination usually occurs by an infected food handler that carries the virus and practice poor personal hygiene (poor handwashing). Illness can also arise with food source contamination, such as oysters and other shell fish. They can become contaminated if they have been in contact with sewage before thing harvested. Symptoms include can include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. Remember food-borne illnesses are preventable – it starts with you. Become a Certified Food Handler and be aware and stay safe. Register for the food handler certificate course online or classroom session and learn about many other ways that you can protect yourself, your family and friends from food-borne illnesses. Get updates on the outbreak by visiting:

How You Can Apply for Food Safe Level 1

Are you looking for a way to obtain a Food Safe Level 1 online certification? You’re in luck—various providers’ offer food safety training courses for an affordable price. The question is, how to choose the right training program? Before anything else, you need to understand what Food Safe BC Level 1 implies. Essentially, it is a requirement set by the government. The certification involves a course designed to inform food service workers on the basics of food handling, sanitation, and work safety. At least one employee in an establishment needs to have taken the  Food Safe Level 1 online certificate. How can you find the best Food Safe Level 1 course in British Columbia? Choose an experienced provider It’s best to look at their accomplishments. What restaurants, businesses, and other food establishments have they worked with? You can also search for providers who have good ratings from previous clients to ensure that you will receive high-quality customer service and a smooth learning experience. When searching online, it is recommended to not only go by the words of service providers. It is very important to know what others are talking about the food safety programs and how they have helped them advance their career. 2. Look for food safety experts When you opt for a food safety program, you will have a professional online instructor who will help you understand the whole program and learn things better. So, it makes sense to check things like. What are the qualifications of the online instructors? It would help if you can find people who have played a key role in developing a Food Safe BC Level 1 program, as well as expertise in content creation, marketing, and problem-solving. The more experience your online instructor has, the better he or she can help you with the program and the learning process. 3. Find innovative lessons Search online for the ‘best food safe level 1 programs’ and you can find endless options there. But can you trust them all? Of course, not. Not all Food Safe Level 1 online program is of high quality. Sometimes, websites are poorly developed and make for an unfriendly user experience. It’s recommended that you find online classes backed by modern technology and extensive research to make your learning experience as comfortable as possible. Make sure to have a look at the lessons and what is included in the program so that you can make the right choice, based on your research. 4. Avoid invalid certifications More than anything, you need to consider the reliability of the Food Safe BC Level 1 certification. You are going to spend a lot of money and time on learning with the food safety program. So you should make the right choice with a program that is certified and reliable. Is it approved by health inspectors, health departments, and the provincial government? Don’t waste your time on certificates that are not accepted Canada-wide and are only valid for less than five years.

How to Teach Food Safety to Your Children

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 to drive home your point about food safety. Use food colouring to show your kids all the “hidden germs” that are on the counter. Colour code items in your fridge so that they know which food is safe to handle and which food needs adult supervision (i.e. meat). If you’re feeling really creative, you can come up with your own fun, educational rhymes or songs. Hand Washing Above All Else The first step in sanitation is knowing how to properly wash your hands. Hopefully, by this time, your kids will have already been taught by you and their teachers the importance of clean hands. Give them another little crash course in the context of food safety, letting them know that every time they touch raw food or switch to a new task in the kitchen, they need to rewash their hands. Ask Before You Taste There’s only so much we can ask of our young children. After all, they probably aren’t spending too much time in your kitchen unsupervised, unless it’s to reach for a snack or grab a glass of milk. If your kids aren’t old enough to start making their own food, but they know that their favourite treats come from the fridge and cupboard, make sure they understand the golden rule, which is to ask before you taste. That way, you can keep track of what your kids are eating, and you’ll be able to prevent them from gobbling down something they shouldn’t. A Little Responsibility Can Go a Long Way They don’t have to cry over spilled milk, but they can certainly clean the spilled milk up! Children should start taking on small chores at an early age, as it teaches them responsibility and discipline. Instructing them to wipe up their spills and put leftovers in the garbage or compost shows them the importance of keeping the kitchen counter clean. Want to ensure you’re giving your children all the right information about proper food safety? Sign up for our online food safety training course! This six-hour course will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to handle food safely in any setting, giving you fundamental knowledge to pass down to your kids. Sign up today with Probe It!

How to Show Customers Your Commitment to Hygiene and Food Safety

When you own a restaurant, you spend a lot of time, effort, and money ensuring your customers don’t think twice about your restaurant’s hygiene. Customers expect the restaurants they patronize to be clean and their food safe, so when standards start to slip—think of what a single insect sighting can do for your reputation—customers take notice. No matter how clean, organized, and sanitized your kitchen is, it’s important to make sure you’re front of house reflects your efforts. Besides serving only the freshest ingredients, here’s how you can show your customers you care about hygiene and food safety: #1: Make Your Entrance Presentable From the moment your customers walk in, they should feel like your establishment is a safe and clean place to eat. So, if your customers notice red flags before the door even closes behind them, they’ll have no problem leaving before they even see a menu. A presentable entrance should be clean, dusted, and well-lit. Be sure that your customers don’t see any of the following when they walk in: #2: Clean Your Menus A little grease on your menus is almost expected, however, it sends a really bad message to your patrons and forces them to get up and wash their hands after ordering their food. No matter how greasy spoon your restaurant is, your menus shouldn’t leave scum on your customer’s fingers. We suggest wiping down your menus whenever they’re greasy, but at least before the start of every shift. While you’re at it, give your menus a makeover. Replace pages with typos, incorrect information, stains, crinkles, or smudges. Print on premium white paper and triple check for formatting and spelling errors. When you spend a little extra time and care on your menu, you show your customers that you pay attention to the finer details. #3: Use Fresh Flowers You don’t necessarily need fresh flowers, but if your décor demands it, we recommend using fresh over fake any day. Fresh flowers immediately give the impression of, well, freshness. Fake flowers gather dust and often appear cheap and old-fashioned. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars every week on expensive bouquets either. A single gerbera daisy or small spray of baby’s breath can offer a beautiful pop of colour to your table setting and is much more impactful than a vase of silk or synthetic roses. Your customers will—consciously or not—make the connection between fresh flowers and fresh ingredients. #4: Keep Washrooms Clean Nothing grosses out customers more than going to wash their hands before they eat only to be presented with a washroom that would put a porta-potty to shame. We understand that when restaurants get busy with customers, it’s easy to overlook the needs of the humble washroom. During your lunch and dinner rushes, you should still make sure that there is enough toilet paper and soap and that the garbage bins aren’t overflowing. And most importantly, make sure your toilets can flush! Washroom maintenance should be a top priority, especially if your wait and kitchen staff are sharing the space. We don’t have to explain why bathroom cleanliness is essential for making your customers feel at ease. #5: Enforce Server Hygiene Imagine getting served by a waiter with sweat and food stains on their shirt, dirty fingernails, and a recent scratch on their arm. Waiters may only be in close contact with our plates for less than a minute, but if they don’t look clean, customers will lose their appetite. Everyone who works in a restaurant should employ safe hygiene practices, whether they’re cooking food or serving tables. A food handler’s certification course will teach you proper personal hygiene and sanitation methods. Probe It makes it easy for server teams to receive their certification all at once. Take a look at our Group Training. If you have five or more employees who need certification, one of our team members will come to your food establishment at no extra cost. #6: Uniforms Similar to the last point, a uniform gives the appearance of order and promotes workplace cleanliness. Enforce a black pants, white shirt policy or order a set of uniforms. If you have a laundering service for your linens, you can arrange to have your restaurant’s uniforms washed at the same time. #7: Refresh Tableware Food does not look appetizing if its presented on scratched, stained, or outdated plates. Additionally, you will likely not sell your more expensive bottles of wine if you don’t have nice glasses to pour them in. Are your dishes old or stained? Splurge a little! Your customers will notice. #8: Update Your Look People don’t go to restaurants just for the food. They want a pleasant atmosphere where they can socialize with their friends and families. The way your restaurant looks will have a tremendous impact on its reputation. A restaurant that looks like it hasn’t been updated in decades may give the impression that your kitchen is also old, outdated, and possibly in need of an update as well. #9: Fresh Coat of Paint? Even if you’re satisfied with your restaurant’s atmosphere and want to keep the look as is, we suggest refreshing your walls with a fresh coat of paint. Food stains, water marks, finger prints, and smudges can make your dining area appear grimy and greasy. Fresh paint appears cleaner and more sanitary. #10: Kitchen Visibility Whether or not your kitchen is wide open or hidden behind a swinging door, it should always be spotless. You want to show your customers that you have nothing to hide, so even if they do happen to peak into the back, they don’t find any negative surprises. Encourage your head chef to come into the dining room from time to time to meet the patrons and show their face. Meeting a chef who’s presentable and proud of their food instantly puts patrons at ease. Revamping your restaurant is up to you, but if you want to bring your employees up to speed on proper hygiene and safe food handling, click here to learn more

How to Protect Your Customers from Allergic Reactions

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 When you are a working professional, responsible for cooking and handling food items inside a kitchen, it is very important to understand the importance of separating the cooking utensils. This is a magic trick and can make a whole difference in saving your customers from allergies and your brand from facing defamation. 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 the price of printer ink and a single sheet of paper. Put a sign up on the door of your restaurant to warn patrons that there are potentially harmful ingredients on the premises. Some food items will be more obvious than others—i.e. serving shellfish at a seafood restaurant—but if you serve specialty dishes, alert your customers early. This helps your patrons make the right choice about what to order, depending upon their health conditions so that they can make the safer choice and prevent any kind of allergy. Use Your Menu to Educate Your menu is the perfect venue to give your patrons a detailed list of all the ingredients you use. Don’t assume everyone knows what goes into a Bolognese sauce or French onion soup. Proudly list your ingredients using easy-to-identify symbols. Don’t use foreign words to describe a common allergen, or if you must name an ingredient in another language, include a disclaimer that plainly says what sort of ingredients your menu items contain. Be Honest & Upfront As certified food handlers, your serving staff should be aware of the dangers of lack of food safety. That is to say, they should know how important it is to be honest and upfront with your guests. When naming daily specials, make sure they alert their customers of all potentially harmful ingredients and give them enough time to ask your servers questions about the menu. So, when your customers know the ingredients of the dishes, they can take time to decide on what to order and what to skip from the Menu. Round out your food safety course with the Allergen Course from Probe It. Sign up today!

How to Prepare Food Safely – Understanding Food Safe Level 1

Knowing the proper way to prepare food will ensure the health and safety of those who will consume it. It is a very important step as the customers put their trust on you about their health and well-being so it becomes your primary responsibility to protect them against any kind of foodborne disease. While food contamination can be really tricky and confusing, training is necessary if you want to acquire the best knowledge possible in safe food preparation. One of the courses you can consider is Food Safe Level 1, a work safety, food handling, and sanitation course for front line foodservice workers (i.e., deli workers, bussers, cooks, dishwashers, and servers) and foodservice establishment operators. It will cover the most critical food and worker safety information, such as storing and receiving food, foodborne illness, sanitizing and cleaning, serving food, and food preparation. The importance of certification A Food Safe BC level 1 course is one of the most basic ones that is aimed to help will provide you with a certificate that will prove your knowledge and education in food safety training as required by health departments in Canada. It is also equivalent to TrainCan Advance.fst, SafeCheck Advanced, and ServSafe. The certification is recognized all over Canada, so it should be acknowledged by any business or employer no matter which province or territory you intend to work or start a food service business. Where to take the course The course is traditionally taught in a classroom, but it is also possible to take the Food Safe Level 1 online.  Since we are talking about a training program that is useful for the working professionals, taking online education makes more sense as this gives you the flexibility to join classes as per your availability as well as save time on travel. There are many online platforms that are not offering these courses at affordable prices, but it is important that you ensure to choose an established and reputable educational institution that has a proven track record of helping food service workers meet employer and government requirements. Simply look for the Food Handlers Certificate course, which is another term for Food Safe Level 1. Before making any decision, make sure to check if the platform is reliable and certified by the relevant departments. Remember that it is going to make an impact on your brand image and your professional skills. Consider a Food Safe BC Level 1 course that is developed by industry experts in Public Health and Occupational Health and Safety, with consideration for the best interests of workers. Verify that the training program is accredited, so you can be confident that you are receiving the right education conveniently through a Food Safe Level 1 online course. The final exam will also be provided to you online. Some schools allow free retakes in case of failure. The Food Safe Level 1 certification should be valid for up to five years.

How To Outsmart Your Peers on the Food Handler Certificate

If you work in the food industry, then you know that having a food handler certificate is a must for success. But having the certificate isn’t enough; you also need to know how to outsmart your peers when it comes to food safety. In this blog post, we’ll explain how to do just that by taking a look at the knowledge from the Food Handler Certificate and using it to your advantage. We’ll discuss the safe handling process, how to post informative infographics around the food establishment, and how to review and keep up with the latest food safety regulations. The Safe Handling Process Food safety is a key part of running a successful business and avoiding food-borne illnesses. It is important for everyone involved in the food service industry to know the proper processes for handling food and the right habits to ensure that food is safe for consumption. Food safety certification courses cover a variety of topics related to food safety, including identifying bad habits that can lead to food contamination. One way to outsmart your peers on the food safety course is to take the time to learn about the safe handling process for different types of foods. Bad habits to avoid when working with food include touching, scratching, or playing with hair; wearing rings, wrist watches, or bangles; biting nails or picking noses; not covering cuts, boils, or septic lesions; coughing or sneezing over cooking surfaces or utensils; wearing dirty or soiled clothing; not washing hands after cooking or going to the washroom; snacking while working with food; keeping long finger nails or applying nail varnish; touching around the face; improper handwashing or lack of handwashing; and not following proper hand washing and personal hygiene habits. We tend to do many of these without thinking, but when handling food, it is a big no-no as it can result in person-to-food cross contamination. By becoming familiar with the safe handling process and adhering to it, you can ensure that food prepared in your workplace is free of contaminants and safe for consumption. Having a valid food handler certificate demonstrates your commitment to food safety and helps protect public health by ensuring that certified individuals have the knowledge and skills necessary to handle food safely and effectively – and can guide their coworkers to the correct course of action if they slip up. Posting Infographics To make sure your peers understand the importance of food safety, visual reminders are essential. Posting infographics around the food establishment is one way to do this. Not only will it remind them of the rules and regulations they need to follow, but it also provides an engaging and visually appealing way for your peers to learn and remember the information from their food safety course or food handler certificate. Examples of food safety related infographics include topics like the four core temperatures that must be followed when storing, preparing and serving food, common ways food can become contaminated, proper handwashing techniques, a list of common allergens and how to assist those with allergy concerns, and the main bacteria and viruses responsible for foodborne illness. By making these topics accessible through visuals, you’re helping to ensure everyone understands the importance of food safety and are taking all necessary precautions. Review Your Knowledge Having a thorough understanding of food safety protocols is essential in any food establishment. With that in mind, it is important to review the information you learned in your food safety course on a regular basis. This can be done by implementing group reviews of the content in a fun and engaging way. For example, you can create quizzes and games based on the material you learned while getting your food handler certificate and use them as part of your regular staff meetings. You can also coordinate with public health departments and attend any of their workshops. For online training, we have a short refresher course that can be used as a way to easily track whether employees are reviewing the most essential information. Doing this will help ensure that everyone is up to date on the latest protocols and guidelines so that the food establishment is following all of them. It is also a great way to build camaraderie among the team members, making them feel more comfortable when dealing with food safety issues. So, make sure to include group reviews as part of your food safety strategy and take advantage of the knowledge you gained from your food safety course. Try suggesting these options to your boss at the next staff meeting, and see what would be simplest to implement. Either way, making personal commitments to doing any of these things will help you outsmart your peers when it comes to implementing all the knowledge you’ve gained from the food handler certificate. Get in Touch