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Old 01-10-2011, 06:05 PM   #1
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Food Safety FAQs

This is the information I copied from the US Dept of Agriculture website - I'm not sure why my print got this big - but oh, well - just some info fyi - I bolded the parts that are very pertinent to this discussion. Hope this helps to clarify some things.


Basics for Handling Food Safely
Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential to prevent foodborne illness. You can't see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness. In every step of food preparation, follow the four Fight BAC!™ guidelines to keep food safe:
  • Clean — Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate — Don't cross-contaminate.
  • Cook — Cook to proper temperatures.
  • Chill — Refrigerate promptly.
Shopping
  • Purchase refrigerated or frozen items after selecting your non-perishables.
  • Never choose meat or poultry in packaging that is torn or leaking.
  • Do not buy food past "Sell-By," "Use-By," or other expiration dates.
Storage
  • Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 F).
  • Check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer with an appliance thermometer. The refrigerator should be at 40 F or below and the freezer at 0 F or below.
  • Cook or freeze fresh poultry, fish, ground meats, and variety meats within 2 days; other beef, veal, lamb, or pork, within 3 to 5 days.
  • Perishable food such as meat and poultry should be wrapped securely to maintain quality and to prevent meat juices from getting onto other food.
  • To maintain quality when freezing meat and poultry in its original package, wrap the package again with foil or plastic wrap that is recommended for the freezer.
  • In general, high-acid canned food such as tomatoes, grapefruit, and pineapple can be stored on the shelf for 12 to 18 months. Low-acid canned food such as meat, poultry, fish, and most vegetables will keep 2 to 5 years — if the can remains in good condition and has been stored in a cool, clean, and dry place. Discard cans that are dented, leaking, bulging, or rusted.
Preparation
  • Always wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • Don't cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices away from other food. After cutting raw meats, wash cutting board, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water.
  • Cutting boards, utensils, and countertops can be sanitized by using a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water.
  • Marinate meat and poultry in a covered dish in the refrigerator.
Thawing
  • Refrigerator: The refrigerator allows slow, safe thawing. Make sure thawing meat and poultry juices do not drip onto other food.
  • Cold Water: For faster thawing, place food in a leak-proof plastic bag. Submerge in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook immediately after thawing.
  • Microwave: Cook meat and poultry immediately after microwave thawing.
Cooking
  • Beef, veal, and lamb steaks, roasts, and chops may be cooked to 145 F.
  • All cuts of pork, 160 F.
  • Ground beef, veal and lamb to 160 F.
  • All poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 F.
Serving
  • Hot food should be held at 140 F or warmer.
  • Cold food should be held at 40 F or colder.
  • When serving food at a buffet, keep food hot with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays. Keep food cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice or use small serving trays and replace them often.
  • Perishable food should not be left out more than 2 hours at room temperature (1 hour when the temperature is above 90 F).
Leftovers
  • Discard any food left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature was above 90 F).
  • Place food into shallow containers and immediately put in the refrigerator or freezer for rapid cooling.
  • Use cooked leftovers within 4 days

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Old 01-10-2011, 09:08 PM   #2
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From Health Canada

Food Safety Tips for Leftovers - Health Canada

Many people enjoy eating leftovers from holiday festivities, family gatherings or from dining out. However, leftovers need to be properly handled. Here are some basic food safety tips to help keep leftovers safe.
Handling leftovers
  • Before and after handling leftovers, wash your hands with hot soapy water, as well as all utensils, dishes and work surfaces.
  • For added protection, you may want to sanitize utensils, dishes and work surfaces. Normal household sanitizers or a mild bleach solution (5 ml/1 tsp. bleach per 750 ml/3 cups water) may be used
  • Keep foods out of the danger zone, between 4C (40F) and 60C (140F) to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Throw away any cooked food left out at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Never rely on your nose, eyes or taste buds to judge the safety of food. You cannot tell if food is contamined by its look, smell or taste.
  • When in doubt, throw it out!
Cooling leftovers
  • Refrigerate all leftovers promptly in uncovered, shallow containers so they cool quickly.
  • Very hot items can first be cooled at room temperature. Refrigerate once steaming stops.
  • Leave the lid off or wrap loosely until the food is cooled to refrigeration temperature.
  • Avoid overstocking the refrigerator to allow cool air to circulate freely.
Storing leftovers
  • Always use a clean container to hold the leftovers, or wrap the leftovers in leak-proof plastic bags to prevent cross-contamination. Keep different types of leftovers separate.
  • Eat refrigerated leftovers within 2 to 3 days, or freeze them for later use.
  • Date leftovers to help identify the contents and to ensure they are not stored too long.
Defrosting leftovers
  • Thaw frozen leftovers in the refrigerator or in the microwave. Ensure food is properly sealed.
  • Consume or cook the leftovers immediately after they have thawed.
Refrigerator
  • Place the container or platter on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to avoid leakage on other foods during thawing.
Microwave
  • Before defrosting, remove food from any packaging or containers not identified as microwave-safe (such as plastic wrap, freezer cartons, and Styrofoam trays). Only use containers and wraps that are labelled as microwave safe.
  • Use the defrost setting of your microwave and make sure leftovers are completely defrosted before reheating.
  • Use or eat the leftovers immediately after defrosting. Dont re-freeze foods that youve defrosted in the microwave.
Reheating leftovers
  • Reheat leftovers to a safe internal temperature of 74C (165F).
  • Use a digital food thermometer to check the temperature.
  • Bring gravies, soups and sauces to a full, rolling boil and stir during the process.
  • Discard uneaten leftovers after they have been reheated.
Reheating in a microwave
  • Use only containers and plastic wrap designed for use in the microwave.
  • Loosen the lid or wrap to allow steam to escape.
  • Stop the microwave midway through reheating and stir the food so that the heat is evenly distributed.
  • Rotate the plate several times during cooking if your microwave does not have a rotating tray.
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:09 PM   #3
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More excellent links on Safe Food Handling

In Your Kitchen: Safe Food Handling Tips - Health Canada
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:11 PM   #4
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USDA Food Safe

http://www.foodsafety.gov/
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:13 PM   #5
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UK Food Safety link
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:17 PM   #6
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If anyone has a good link to add, please contact a Mod to put it in this thread. This thread is going to stay closed to discussion but we'd like to provide the best info we can. Thanks all!
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Old 01-11-2011, 09:32 AM   #7
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Seattle Health and Safety.

From mozart.
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