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.