Food safety, a responsibility to share

Brandy Kemp, safety officer, Risk Management and Safety Operations

There is generally no shortage of excellent food while celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, and the cuisine is often the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the celebration itself. On the other hand, food safety is another issue to consider when celebrating the holiday.

According to the CDC, about 1 in 6 Americans (48 million individuals) suffer food poisoning annually, with half of those cases happening during the holidays. Holiday food poisoning can be caused by several circumstances, including a lack of knowledge about food preparation hazards that might make diners ill.

A conversation about the following food safety measures will help ensure everyone has a happy and healthy season.

  • Before you start, when you’re handling fresh food, and after you’re done, wash your hands and arms with soap. Clean up your workspace as well.
  • Avoid cross-contamination. This happens when raw food, tools and finished products touch while handling. Raw produce has a lot of bacteria on it, so it needs to be kept separate from other ingredients that will be minimally processed.
  • Different ingredients call for different amounts of cooking time. This is especially true for meats that need to be processed a certain way before they are safe to eat.
  • To stop the growth of microorganisms that cause food to go bad, perishable goods must be put in the fridge within two hours at 40°F or below.
  • It would help to examine the safety of the food in the office fridge since some of the condiments or leftovers stored may suddenly be classified as a science experiment and need to be thrown away.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about food safety, contact Risk Management & Safety Operations at 405-974-2216.