food safety tips for holidays

Food Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

Food Safety

It’s that time of year again–the holiday season! While you are prepping food for your foodservice or for your traditional celebrations, it is important that food safety be a No. 1 priority. Below are some tips to keep your preparations safe during the holidays!

Proper Food Temperatures

Many foods must reach a certain internal temperature before they are safe for consumption. In order to meet food safety temperatures, FoodSafety.gov said to be sure the foods below reach the following minimums on your thermometer three minute before serving. Also, if food has been sitting out at room temperature for two or more hours, it should be disposed. (Click image below to view larger version).Food Safety Temperatures

food safety glovesGloves and Handwashing

Proper handwashing is crucial to ensure food safety. Many foodservice establishments also require employees to wear plastic gloves during preparation. Just remember, each time you step away from preparing or serving food and touch another surface (cell phone, door handle, etc.), be sure to properly wash  your hands and change gloves.

To properly wash hands:

  1. Use soap and warm water (105°F)
  2. Rub hands vigorously for 20 seconds and wash all surfaces including the backs of hands, wrists, in between fingers and under nails
  3. Rinse hands thoroughly and turn off water and open doors with a paper towel to avoid cross-contamination

Electronic faucets and automatic hand dryers are a great way foodservices can be sure to avoid contact with any bacteria or germs after properly washing hands.

Cutting gloves are also available to ensure hands and fingers are safe while preparing foods.

Ways to Avoid Cross Contamination

Standard Color Codes

Items such as cutting boards, cutlery and ladles/tongs can all be color coded to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination.

food safety color codes

food allergy San Jamar saf-t-system

Allergen Color Codes

For customers or guests with food allergies, foodservice equipment and supply manufacturers have color-coded each of those products as purple. Only use purple color-coded food prep supplies for those with food allergies as one small trace of an allergen exposed to them can be serious.

San Jamar’s Allergen Saf-T-Zone System is a kit that includes most items needed to prepare a meal for a person with food allergies. If investing in this system, be sure to also purchase a purple allergen thermometer to go along with the set.

Food Labels

Rotation labels are also imperative for food safety to avoid food borne illnesses and cross contamination so employees know when foods will go bad but they also can help reign in food costs too.

Wash Foods Properly

It’s important to wash our hands frequently but that is not necessary for all foods.

“Washing raw poultry, beef, pork, lamb or veal before cooking is not recommended,” the USDA said. “Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils and surfaces. We call this cross-contamination.”

The USDA also advises not to wash eggs either as they have already been washed during commercial egg processing. After this process has occurred, which removes the natural coating on freshly laid eggs, they are given a light coating of an edible mineral oil that restores protection. Any additional washing of eggs the USDA said jeopardize this measure and could increase the risk of cross-contamination.

Produce, however, should be washed. Fruits and vegetables should be placed under cool running tap water to remove any lingering dirt and reduce bacteria.

“If there is a firm surface, such as on apples or potatoes, the surface can be scrubbed with a brush,” the USDA said. “These products are not approved or labeled by the FDA for use on foods. You could ingest residues from soap or detergent absorbed in the produce.”

When washing produce, they advise to cut away any damaged or bruised areas as bacteria can move and thrive there. Upon cutting any items, they must be placed in a refrigerator to ensure food safety.

Need Help?

Whether it’s finding equipment and supplies to help improve food safety, or needing help getting started, contact a Central product consultant at 800-215-9293 or use our live chat option!

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