Food Safety

How to Ensure Food Safety at Home


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 [...]

How to Ensure Food Safety at Home2019-05-13T14:14:24+00:00

August 2016: We Changed Food Handler Certification Forever


Throughout the years as a Public Health Inspector, I have been instructing food handler training and certification courses and I’ve noticed two things: Many clients would have to take a day off work, usually without pay. They commuted hours to attend the session. I was amazed at the demand and need for the course, what astonished me even more… this was the norm! It was common (and expected) for clients to do this in order to get their food handler certificate! As I begin the course, I provide clients with a quick overview of the day and also provide clients with an opportunity for questions. The only question without fail at this point of the course are all related to when the exam will be taking place (i.e. the conclusion of the course). “When will we be done?” “When will we start the exam?” “Can I do the exam during lunch?” “Can we skip breaks/lunch and get through all the material and leave earlier?” [...]

August 2016: We Changed Food Handler Certification Forever2019-05-13T14:15:03+00:00

Online Food Safety Training – “How do I choose the right course?”


Most food handlers and food safety professionals can almost all agree that the in-class food safety training and certification can be long, boring, and inconvenient. This is why people have decided to search for new options of becoming certified – ONLINE. Now the question remains “How do I choose the right course?” DO NOT CONSIDER COST AS YOUR MAIN DECISION FACTOR Have you ever heard the expression “ You get what you pay for”?  When choosing an online course provider it is important not to only consider the cost of the course because you will be facing the same issues that you have tried to avoid – boring, inconvenient, cheap quality, poor development! You do not want to compromise your learning experience and waste your money. It is important to remember the food handler certificate is very necessary for gaining the essential skills required to prevent food borne illness. You do not want to be buy into the “cheapest course” advertisement scheme… because you [...]

Online Food Safety Training – “How do I choose the right course?”2019-05-28T14:51:21+00:00

2017 Has Been a Busy Year in Food Safety


2017 has been a busy year in food safety. The principal federal agency with regards to food safety is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The CFIA is responsible for inspecting and regulating federally registered food production facilities. CFIA also issues food recalls and removal of products from shelves. The CFIA classifies recalls based on the level of health risk associated with the food product being recalled. In 2017 alone the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued 155 recalls and issued close to $400,000 in fines! In recent weeks there has been a lot of media attention on food recalls and outbreaks of food borne illnesses such as: Deadly E. coli outbreak linked to romaine Dozens of brands of ice cream bars recall for Listeria Kirkland Signature brand All Butter Croissants recalled from certain stores in Ontario due to possible presence of plastic. PC brand Sweet Chipotle Prepared Mustard may be unsafe due to possible presence of glass Food handler knowledge is the key [...]

2017 Has Been a Busy Year in Food Safety2019-05-28T14:55:19+00:00

Importance of Food Handler Training


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Importance of Food Handler Training2019-05-28T15:00:27+00:00

Food Handler Behaviour – Clean Hands


The final blog in this series of food handler behaviour relates to clean hands. Food handlers should constantly be aware of their hand hygiene. Food handlers can prevent bacteria and other contaminates from building up beneath their nails by keeping nails clean, trim and avoiding wearing fake nails and nail polish. Additionally, jewelry that is on the hands and wrists should also be removed to allow effective hand washing. It is important to know that nothing substitutes handwashing when handling food. If gloves are used in preparing or serving food, hands must continue to be thoroughly washed prior to wearing gloves. Gloves must also be disposed of after each task. Hands must be washed using the 6 steps of hand washing: When to Wash Hands Before commencing work. Before, during and after preparing food. After smoking. After using the washroom. After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. After touching garbage, clearing tables or handling soiled objects. After break/returning to work. After changing tasks. After [...]

Food Handler Behaviour – Clean Hands2019-05-28T15:02:13+00:00

Food Handler Behavior – Don’t Snack While Working With Food


The third blog in this series is about snacking while handling food. Food handlers should eat in an approved designated break room. Snacking while handling food can trigger allergic reactions. Think about it, if a food handler is snacking on almonds while preparing a garden salad. Trace amounts of the almond remains on their hands. Although the garden salad doesn’t contain nuts as an actual ingredient, it would be enough to trigger an allergic reaction to the person consuming it (if they suffer from allergies) due to the traces on the food handler hands. Snacking also includes chewing gum. Chewing gum should be avoided in areas where food is being prepared. Saliva can accidently spray from a person’s mouth and contaminate the food or food contact surface. The chewing gum can also accidently fall into the food. Additionally, employee food should be stored in a designated fridge and labeled. Personal habits of food handlers can have a direct impact on the safety of food, [...]

Food Handler Behavior – Don’t Snack While Working With Food2019-05-28T15:04:17+00:00

Food Handler Behavior – Be Mindful of Bad Habits


The second blog in this series is about bad habits. Have you ever heard the expression “bad habits, die hard”? Well, its true! Bad habits can take several days, months or years to completely rid your self from them. However, when working with food these habits can results in serious illnesses. It is important to being mindful of bad habits when working with food such as: Playing/twirling hair Biting nails Snacking while working with food Touching around the face Improper handwashing/lack of handwashing There are many ways food handlers can be mindful of their bad habits. The first thing is to recognize that your habit can result in food borne illness. How can you recognize this? By gaining essential food safety knowledge. Food handlers must learn about safe food handling to ensure they are doing everything in their power to prevent food borne illness. The Probe It online food safety course provides food handlers with valuable knowledge that is needed when working with food. [...]

Food Handler Behavior – Be Mindful of Bad Habits2019-05-28T15:05:49+00:00

Food Handler Behavior – Follow Proper Tasting Methods


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. [...]

Food Handler Behavior – Follow Proper Tasting Methods2019-05-28T15:09:50+00:00

Temperature Danger Zone


When handling food it is important that we recognize that unsafe food will not always appear as unsafe. Pathogenic micro-organisms will not provide a smell, a taste or colour. They are invisible and the only way to protect ourselves from them is by taking extra precautions when handling food. By ensuring food does not stay in the temperature danger zone for over 2 hours is a great way to ensure pathogenic bacteria does not reproduce to unsafe levels. The temperature danger zone is 4⁰C-60⁰C, within this range bacteria grows easily and rapidly. Remember keep food hot above 60⁰C and cold food below 4⁰C. Whenever you are in doubt of the safety of food, throw it out. The online food safety course provides you with the essential knowledge required in preventing food-borne illnesses. The online food handler course is not only designed for people working in the food industry but is beneficial for practicing food safety at home. Click on the online training tab to [...]

Temperature Danger Zone2019-05-28T15:12:06+00:00