Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Food safety basics: Buy, store and clean promptly
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 1 Sep 2006, p. 13, 26

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(Gerry is writing today about food safety.) How do you handle your groceries from the store? Do you grocery shop and leave them in a car when temperatures can reach 50C in the summer? Make sure you buy your purchases and go directly home-- no more stops along the way! And, any particularly perishable items should go in the car with you not in the trunk so that they can benefit from the air conditioning too! When you arrive home if you unload and refrigerate all perishable items first, then continue with the unloading procedure, this will give your food the longest possible shelf life. Keep in mind when purchasing products, to check the best before dates in order to give yourself the most time to use it. Items may still be good and safe to use after these dates, but are at their guaranteed freshest before. Do you rotate the stock in your fridge, freezer and cupboards? This should be done as food is put away, so as to use the oldest foods first. When thawing food, thaw in the refrigerator only, not on the counter-- this will take longer, but it is much safer. When you do thaw foods in the fridge, thaw them in a large container that will catch any drips. Then, just to be on the safe side, place that container on the bottom of the fridge so that there is no fresh food underneath it that may get dripped on. When preparing food, watch for cross contamination. Use a cutting board and knife for vegetable prep and then for raw meat prep. Do not use that same board,

knife or counter area again until it has been washed and sanitized. Cross contamination occurs when you use any utensil for stirring raw meats and then the same utensil for serving cooked foods-- WASH in between uses! The biggest culprit is your hands-- wash them often and use soap and rub! When preparing recipes, only remove perishable items from the fridge when you need them, do not leave them out on the counter as you work and once you are finished with them, put them immediately back into the fridge or oven. When reheating leftovers, only take out of the fridge and reheat exactly what you will need. Keep the remainder cold in the fridge and you will extend the shelf life of the product. The less time food is in and out of a safe temperature, the longer it will last. Also, when reheating leftovers, such as soup be sure to bring them to a boil. It is not safe to just reheat them to lukewarm and then eat. Thought for the day: the best things in life are not things. Have fun and keep cooking! (Lori and Gerry can be reached at whatscookin@independentfreepress.com)

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Food safety basics: Buy, store and clean promptly