See Table 12.5: Safe Food Storage Times: Refrigerator.
Use good quality ingredients (e.g., not expired, pasteurized milk and juices, etc).
Use sanitary equipment (so ensure equipment is clean prior to use).
Clean counter tops prior to food preparation. Ensure cutting boards and knives are clean.
Wash hands with soap and water before preparing food.
• See Figure 12.4: Proper Hand Washing Prevents Illness in your NCC Supplement.
Replace dish cloths, towels and sponges often (they can harbour microorganisms and spread
them to other surfaces in your kitchen, so should be changed on a daily basis. Have you seen
the commercial on television where the lady whips down her kitchen with a piece of chicken?
That can literally be what your dish cloth/sponge can be like if you have used it to wipe up
chicken juice and then wipe down your counters with it).
Avoid cross contamination.
Rinse cutting boards with sanitizing solution (e.g., dilute chlorine bleach and water solution) to
prevent growth of microorganisms. Fight BAC recommends a solution containing 1tsp bleach
in 3 cups water.
Wash raw produce prior to use. See Table 12.7: Produce Safety in your NCC Supplement.
Thaw foods safely:
- in the refrigerator (bottom shelf)
- in cold water (either under running cold water or in a cold water bath in the sink – water needs
to be changed every hour to avoid the temperature rising above 4°C)
- in the microwave (food must be cooked immediately after thawing, as microwaves tend to
heat food unevenly)
Cook high risk foods like ground meat, poultry, fish and eggs thoroughly. Use a meat
thermometer to ensure proper temperature is reached.
See Figure 12.5: Safe Handling Instructions for Meat and Poultry in your NCC Supplement.
Temperature control (keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold).
• Danger Zone is 4 – 60*C (most ideal temperatures for bacteria to grow)
- Keep cold foods below 4°C
- Keep hot foods above 60°C
Use clean dishes.
Never place cooked food on a surface that has held raw meats, fish or poultry (e.g., taking raw
patties out to the barbeque on a plate and then putting the cooked burgers back onto that same
plate to serve).
Never leave perishable foods out of refrigerator for more than 2 hours (as microorganisms will
have had too long to multiply in the food).
5. Handling of leftovers
Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Follow the 2-hour rule, foods should be stored in the fridge within
2 hours of preparation.
Store leftovers in small shallow dishes, using several if necessary. When food is put into a large
container, it is not able to cool to 40*C quickly enough to prevent microorganisms from growing.
Remove stuffing from poultry and store separately (the safest way to cook stuffing is separate from
the bird, to ensure that it reaches a high enough internal temperature).
Reheat foods adequately (so solid foods should be steaming, and liquids should boil).