Originally posted on the Emmie Oddie HomeFamily.net website
Updated in June 2015 by the Manitoba Association of Home Economists
Here’s a quiz to see how food-safety savvy you are. There is lots of good information and advice in the answers.
- The best way to avoid food poisoning is to
(a) use bacterial soaps
(b) buy only organic food
(c) wash your hands with plain soap and water before and after handling food
(d) eat only at home, not at restaurants.
(c) Frequent and thorough handwashing is the No. 1 infection fighter. Plain soap will do – antibacterial products are not more effective and may contribute to drug-resistant bacteria. More people get food poisoning at home, though illness caused by restaurant meals is more likely to be reported.
- Cooked foods should be refrigerated within
(a) 30 minutes
(b) 2 hours
(c) 3 hours
(d) 4 hours
(b) If the weather is hot, reduce that to one hour. Remember to count the time it takes you to eat.
- Which are potential sources of foodborne illness?
(a) raw eggs, poultry, beef, seafood
(b) unwashed produce
(c) raw sprouts
(d) unpasteurized milk, apple juice and apple cider.
(all) It’s not just animal foods that can harbor microbes. Besides cooking meat to proper temperature and eggs until not runny, wash all produce (including organic, which is also susceptible to microbes) with plain water. People with weakened immune systems, as well as the very old and very young, should not eat raw sprouts, which have been linked to illness caused by E.coli and Salmonella bacteria.
- Which cutting board is safer?
Either is fine, as long as you scrub it with soap and water after cutting raw meat, poultry or fish on it. One advantage of plastic is that you can put it in the dishwasher. You may want to have different boards for raw meats and produce. Replace boards that have deep grooves or cracks.
- If you get sick from eating an egg salad sandwich left out too long, the most likely culprit is the
(b) Bacteria thrive on high-protein foods such as eggs, tuna and chicken – not in store-bought mayo. Homemade mayonnaise, made from raw eggs (and no preservatives), however, can cause salmonella poisoning.
- True or false: Hard cheese with some surface mold does not need to be tossed.
True. Just cut off at least an inch (2.54 cm) beyond the mold. The same goes for hard fruits and vegetables, such as apples and potatoes. Soft fruits and cheeses with mold, however, should be discarded.
- True or false: Raw meats can be marinated at room temperature, because the marinade kills bacteria
False. Marinate all meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator. Do not add leftover marinade to the cooked meat unless you boil it first. Transfer the cooked meat to a clean platter, not back to the dish that held the raw meat.
- True or false: It’s safe to refreeze thawed or partially thawed foods.
True, as long as the food still has ice crystals or is below 4°C (40°F). Refreezing may, however, affect the food’s flavour and texture.
- True or false: Packaged salad greens labeled “prewashed” or “triple washed” don’t need further washing.
True. Greens and other vegetables washed at the processing plant and labeled as such are probably cleaner than home-washed greens can ever be (but you pay extra for the convenience). Other greens, not labeled as having been washed should be thoroughly washed.
- True or false: The “sniff” test is a reliable way to tell if food is tainted with bacteria.
False. You usually can’t smell or taste the microbes that cause food poisoning. Still, if food does smell bad, throw it out.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, March 2006.
FOOD SAFETY DURING A POWER FAILURE
Updated in July 2015 by the Manitoba Association of Home Economists
Power outages can occur at any time during the year, so it is important to know what to do in terms of food safety when the power goes out. What is the proper temperature at which foods must be held to remain safe to eat? How long will frozen foods stay frozen? How do you make sure that foods are cooked properly and to the right temperature when using alternate cooking methods? These are all things to consider.
It is recommended that refrigerators and freezers be kept closed at all times during a power outage. If they do need to be opened, this should be kept to a minimum. Food in a freezer that is full should be safe for 2 days, 1 day if it is half full. Food in refrigerators will be kept cold for a short period of time. There should be a thermometer in the fridge and freezer at all times to monitor the temperature. Refrigerator temperature should be 4°C (40°F) or less and freezer temperature should be -18°C (0°F) or less.
Thawed foods that still contain ice crystals can be refrozen. However, do not refreeze frozen dinners, ice cream, fish and shellfish.
Because there is an increased risk of food becoming contaminated or spoiled, one must take extra care in food preparation. Choose foods that can be prepared quickly and require less heat. For example, slice meat thinly so it will cook more quickly and completely. Stir frequently to distribute the heat evenly. Raw chicken should be cooked to 80°C (180°F), beef and pork to 70°C (160°F) and eggs should be cooked until yolk and white are firm. Canned foods are a good option, as they do not require heating.
Alternative cooking methods include the fireplace, candle warmers, and fondue pots. Fuel-burning camp stoves, gas or coal barbecues or charcoal burners can also be used, but should never be used in the house. Fumes from these stoves can be deadly.
Discard any perishable food if kept over two hours at above 4°C (40°F). This would include the following:
- Meats, poultry, seafood, eggs and egg substitutes (raw or cooked)
- Milk, cream, yogurt and soft cheese
- Casseroles, stews or soups
- Luncheon meats, hot dogs and meat/cheese-topped pizza
- Creamy-based salad dressings that have been opened
- Custard, chiffon or cheese pies
- Cream-filled pastries
- Refrigerator and cookie dough
- Mayonnaise and tartar sauce that have been opened
Some foods that can be kept at room temperature for a few days include the following:
- Butter or margarine
- Hard and processed cheese
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Opened jars of vinegar-based salad dressings, jelly, relish, taco sauce, barbecue sauce, ketchup, olives and peanut butter
- Cakes except cream-cheese frosted or cream filled
When it comes to food safety during a power failure, it is better to discard a questionable food item, than to consume it and become the victim of food-borne illness. If you are in doubt, you can contact your local Public Health Inspector.
WRITTEN BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITIONISTS OF SASKATCHEWAN
Originator: Cathy Knox
The Sanitation Code for Canada’s Foodservice Industry by Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association.
“Food Safety During a Power Failure,” Journal unknown, Volume 1, Issue 5.
Reviewed by the Public Health Inspectors, Swift Current Health District.
It’s that time of year again; Farm to School Manitoba is back for another amazing year of providing fresh locally grown Manitoba veggies to schools and daycare centres. Farm to School is a fundraiser available to schools and child care centres that use vegetables as their fundraising product. It’s a fantastic way to get fresh local vegetables delivered for one price throughout the entire province.
All veggies provided from the fundraiser are grown in Manitoba and distributed by Peak of the Market, whom guarantees freshness of their product upon arrival. Once Farm to School product arrives at schools and daycare centres it’s an exciting rush to retrieve all the items off the delivery truck and get the bundles assembled by the fundraising volunteers. Once all the bundles are assembled and ready to travel home with students and parents that’s where we might run into trouble with ensuring the vegetables last for as long as they are able too. Leaving fundraising items together in their reusable bag is not a favourable storage method for the Farm to School fresh vegetables.
Working with a perishable fundraising item, it’s important to provide Farm to School customers with the knowledge on keeping their veggies crisp and fresh to ensure it is safe once brought home by our veggie eating customers. This year we have a resource sheet with easy to follow tips that can be brought home to parents providing suggestions on how to store the Farm to School vegetables in your home.
This week Manitoba Association of Home Economists will be declaring with the province of Manitoba Local Veggie Day in Manitoba on September 17th at Winnipeg Harvest. This is an exciting time for us as donations are a huge part of our fundraiser. We are proud to be partnered with Manitoba Association of Food Banks where 41 food banks are able to receive donations from generous giving schools and daycare centres. The past 2014 fundraising term 87,200 pounds were donated throughout the province by our generous 357 schools and daycare centres! Go Friendly Manitoba!
For more information on Farm to School Manitoba or to enroll please visit www.FarmtoSchool.ca