Grocery Shopping with Food Safety in Mind

By Laura Craven

Good food safety practices for your home include grocery shopping and safe storage of food. These steps will require extra time but they are worth following to ensure you only bring fresh, safe food into your kitchen.

  • Before you go to the store, make a list with the non-perishables first. If you know your store’s layout, organize the list by aisles and then list the perimeter departments with dairy and meat last.
  • Use cart wipes if available or bring your own and wipe all touch points including the handle and cup holder. If using a hand-basket, wipe the handles.
  • Check expiration dates or “packaged on” dates and select the freshest items available.
  • When selecting packaged produce, inspect the contents to ensure there is no mold. If the container is clear, be sure to check the bottom.
  • When selecting loose produce, avoid pieces with dents, bruises, or discolored spots. A tip to tell if fruit is fresh – a fresh piece of fruit will weigh more than a not-so-fresh piece.
  • The nose knows! If any food has a bad or unusual smell that is an indication of spoilage.
  • Pick up chilled or frozen items last and leave a corner of your cart available for meat. Don’t stack meat, fish, or poultry on top of other grocery items. This helps avoid cross-contamination.
  • Use a tissue or paper towel to open cooler doors or self-serve bins.
  • Reusable tote bags used to carry food can harbor bacteria. Opt for a clean grocery bag each time.
  • Use hand sanitizer after paying at check out and, once you are home, wash your hands before unloading your grocery bags.
  • Put perishable items in the refrigerator as soon as possible.
  • Store milk and eggs inside the refrigerator compartment, not in the door which is the warmest area.
  • Place meat, poultry, and fish in plastic bags to prevent leaks and store on a bottom shelf of your refrigerator or freezer. No need to rinse.
  • Rinse fruits and veggies under running water before storing.
  • Wipe off cans and cartons before storing. This includes the tops of cans, where you will puncture with a can opener, and the area around the opening of cartons.

This is part 3 in a series of blogs dedicated to sharing food-safety best practices for your home from your friends at Imperial Dade

Food Safety Tips for Leftovers

By Laura Craven

Whether cooking at home or ordering take-out, we often find we have leftovers. And, today with people cooking in large batches while home-bound, this is more likely. To ensure leftovers are safe to eat, and enjoyable, it’s important to pay attention to food safety rules. Make sure food is cooked to a safe temperature, refrigerate or freeze leftovers quickly, and follow reheating best practices. This will help prevent foodborne illness from improper procedures.

The first step is to prepare and cook food safely and be sure to meet the minimum internal temperature guidelines by using a food thermometer. Red meats including beef, pork, lamb, and veal should reach 145° F before removing food from the heat source. Allow to rest for 3 minutes before slicing or serving. Ground meats require a higher internal temperature of 160° F to prevent foodborne illness. The process of grinding can introduce bacteria, so the higher cooking temperature is important. Cook poultry to an internal temperature of 165° F.

The next step is to keep food out of the Danger Zone. Bacteria grows at a rapid rate when food is between 40° F and 140°F.

Keep your hot dishes above the Danger Zone until ready to cool and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers. Always cool and store food within 2 hours of cooking or 1 hour if left out in a hot environment such as an outdoor meal during summer months.

Cold food should be kept at 40° F or below while serving. Nest bowls in larger bows of ice or only plate servings as needed and keep the rest of the food in the refrigerator. Store and refrigerate within 2 hours of being at room temperature.

When ready to store, cool food rapidly to prevent bacterial growth while the temperature passes through the Danger Zone. Divide large batches into shallow containers which will allow quicker cooling. Using an ice paddle (commercial and home-styles are available) or placing a container of the hot food into an ice bath will be effective. Do not put a hot glass or ceramic cooking dish or pan into cold water as it will shatter.  For large pieces of meat such as roasts, turkeys, or ham, slice into smaller parts to cool. Do not put a large batch of steaming hot food into your refrigerator as it will warm up the entire compartment and could lead to other food spoiling.

When its time to store leftovers either cooked at home or ordered from a restaurant, wrap each type of food separately in airtight packaging or seal into storage containers with a tight lid-fit. This helps keep bacteria out and will prevent the mingling of odors. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and in the freezer for 3-4 months. Label your containers or storage bags with the contents and date stored. And, when in doubt, throw it out!

When it’s time to thaw frozen leftovers do so safely. Thaw in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. If using the cold-water method, soak the food in an airtight and leak-proof container or bag in cold water just until thawed. When using a microwave, make sure the food reaches 165° F. Do not thaw food on the counter as this may allow the food to stay within the Danger Zone for too long. After thawing the food, it should be heated and eaten within 3-4 days.

Reheating leftovers requires safety practices as well. It is safe to reheat from a frozen state in a sauce-pan, oven, or microwave to the serving temperature of 165° F. When using a microwave, be sure to cover loosely and rotate to ensure even heating and allow resting time. If you end up with a second round of leftovers, it is safe to refreeze and follow the same safe procedures for thawing and reheating again.

This is part 2 in a series of blogs dedicated to sharing food-safety best practices for your home from your friends at Imperial Dade

 

 

 

 

 

Tamper-Evident Packaging & Supplies

By Jennifer Jaworski

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt nationally in the foodservice industry. For restaurants to continue to serve their customers safely and comply with local restrictions, they may offer take-out and delivery service.

Everyone is very concerned about health and safety today. By using tamper-evident food packaging, especially for delivery orders, you are expressing the same level of concern. Remember, food safety is a priority.

Here are options to help tamper-proof your restaurant’s take-out and delivery program.

Tamper-Evident Containers

tamper-evident container

  • Visual confirmation that the package has been properly sealed
  • Leak-resistant lid closure
  • Tamper-resistant tear-strip opening

 

Tamper-Evident Cutlery Kits  Cutlery Kit

  • Various kits available including choice of cutlery, napkins, and condiments
  • Individually wrapped and sanitary

 

 

Tamper-Evident Labels

label2

  • Confirms food packaging has not been opened 
  • Includes one or more safety indicators to easily recognize if the seal has been broken
  • Can be used on containers, boxes, and bags

 

Tamper-Evident Bags tamperevidentbag

  • Wide openings make bags easy to load
  • Adhesive strip fastens bag tightly
  • Helps prevent contamination
  • Allows for food to be securely transported

 

Customers will appreciate your attention to detail and care in packaging their order. When they know they can trust your food safety procedures, they’re more likely to order again in the future.

For a to-go packaging consultation, visit http://www.ImperialDade.com and contact the location nearest your restaurant. 

Food Safety at Home

By Laura Craven

Americans are staying home and cooking for themselves these days. For some people, cooking provides an enjoyable and even adventurous way to spend time with their families. For others, the kitchen is unknown territory and they must find instructions on YouTube before making mac and cheese. No matter your level of culinary skill, there is one aspect of home cooking that everyone should bone up on and that is food safety.

There are four simple steps to follow and practice food safety at home.

  1. CLEAN – Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces often
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, including the back of your hands, wrists, and under your fingernails, for 20 seconds. Wash before and after handling raw food and before serving.
  • Wash cutting boards, mixing bowls, dishes, and utensils with hot water and dish detergent after each use. Clean counters often using kitchen sanitizer or hot, soapy water, especially after prepping raw food.
  • Launder dish cloths in hot water and use fresh cloths between tasks.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables under running water and dry with a paper towel or clean dish cloth.
  • Do not wash meat, poultry, eggs, or pre-washed produce.
  1. SEPARATE – Do not cross contaminate
  • When shopping, separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other groceries in your cart. Make sure these items are bagged separately at check out.
  • Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood well-wrapped and separated from other items in your refrigerator or freezer.
  • Store eggs in the original container in the main refrigerator compartment, not the door.
  • Use different cutting boards for produce and raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Use separate plates, bowls, and utensils for raw and cooked food.
  1. COOK – Cook food to the right temperature
  • Food is safely cooked when the internal temperature is high enough to kill germs that can make people sick.
  • Use a food thermometer to be sure your food is cooked thoroughly. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the food and not touching the bone.
  • Follow the minimum cooking temperatures listed on the thermometer or on this chart.
  • Keep food hot (140° F or above) after cooking. Bacteria can start to multiply when food falls below 140° F.
  • When using a microwave, be sure to follow directions to ensure the food is thoroughly cooked. If instructions include a standing time after cooking, allow the food to rest. This enables the heat to spread evenly.
  1. CHILL – Refrigerate perishable foods within 2 hours
  • Bacteria that causes food poisoning multiplies quickest between 40° F and 140° F, this is referred to as the Danger Zone.
  • Make sure your refrigerator is set at 40° F or below and your freezer at 0° F or below. Check using an appliance thermometer.
  • Leftovers should be placed in shallow containers to allow for quicker cooling, especially large batches of hot sauces and soups, and placed in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Do not thaw or marinate food on the counter. Keep food in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
  • The door is the warmest area of the refrigerator. Use those shelves for items such as water, soda, and condiments. Do not store milk in the door.
  • Write the date of any stored leftovers on the bag or container and follow a food storage time chart. When in doubt, throw it out!

 

This is the first in a series of blogs dedicated to sharing food-safety best practices for your home from your friends at Imperial Dade

Making the Change to Take-out and Delivery Restaurant Sales

By Laura Craven

Many restaurants are temporarily shifting from a dine-in business model to take-out and delivery sales only. This requires different packaging than containers given at the end of a dine-in meal for “left-overs.” There are many packaging options on the market today and an experienced supplier can guide restaurant managers and kitchen staff on the best product selection and assembly practices.

  • Review your menu and edit according to what meals will travel well. You may need to reduce or change offerings to ensure your guests have a quality experience.
  • Designate an area for assembly and stage containers and other packaging supplies in a logical fashion to expedite the packing process.
  • Choose packaging based on your menu items. Use containers with various compartments to keep sides from mixing with entrées. Make sure your containers have a tight lid-fit to protect against leaking. Vented containers allow for steam to escape and help prevent food from becoming soggy. New fried-food packages are available that help keep items crisp. Microwavable containers are handy for customers who wish to reheat food.
  • Separate hot and cold foods into their own containers and bags to keep items at their proper temperature.
  • Use the correct size container for each application. One size does not fit all. If the container is too large, the food will shift and could break apart. If the container is too small, the food will be crowded and the container will be prone to leak.
  • Invest in the right ancillary items. Bags must allow for containers to stack neatly inside which will prevent tipping. The bags should also be the right weight and have sturdy handles that ensure safe carrying. For third-party delivery, tamper-evident bags may be needed. Wrapped cutlery kits keep the cutlery and napkins sanitary. The correct size soufflé cups will keep condiments, dressings, and toppings intact.
  • Brand your packaging. If custom-print is not an immediate option, use labels with your logo, phone number, website, and social media information so customers can connect with you.

Customers will appreciate your attention to detail when their meals are packaged in high-quality containers and include the necessary extras such as full-size cutlery kits and napkins.

For a personalized packaging consultation, please contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant or visit http://www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you. 

10 Steps to Going Green!

By Vickie Holland

You may have been told to “green” your facility or “We’re going green”.  This may have immediately raised questions for you, your staff, and your customers. Where do we start? What will this cost? When does this happen? How do we know if we missed anything?

Our Greensafe Program is designed to help you understand what “going green” really means and where to start.

10 Steps to Going Green

  • Conserve Energy: Turn off computers, lights, and printers when not in use. Use LED light bulbs.
  • Implement a Comprehensive Recycling Program: Place recycling containers for ease of recycling paper, plastics, and other materials.
  • Reduce Waste: Print less paper by going digital. Conserve water.
  • Use Green Cleaning Products: Switch to third-party certified green chemicals. If possible, use a dilution control system which reduces waste.
  • Use Sustainable Cleaning Tools: Microfiber mops and dusters reduce chemical use.
  • Use Proper Matting: Control soiling near the building entrances saves time and money and protects your floors.
  • Use Green Cleaning Equipment: Select CRI certified vacuum cleaners with optimal filtration to provide best indoor air quality.
  • Use Green Towels and Tissue: Switch to  third-party certified green products.
  • Use Green Trash Liners: Proper sizing reduces waste and save money. Use liners with third-party certification.
  • Train Employees: Train employees on proper equipment use and correct cleaning procedures to reduce cost and improve safety.

If you need to meet the requirements of LEED Certification, we can help. If you need to switch your entire program tomorrow or take the first step, we can help.

Please contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant or visit our website to learn more about the following services:

  • Greensafe cleaning program including site surveys, consultation, and product selection
  • Cleaning chemical dilution-control systems with third-party certified products
  • EcoLogo, Safer Choice, Green Seal, UL Certified, and EPA Compliant product offerings from major manufacturers
  • Carpet & Rug Institute Green Label Certified equipment from major equipment manufacturers
  • Complete custodial green cleaning training programs