SafeFood© Specifics

Had the opportunity to be video taped for a web segment on staying healthy by avoiding foodborne illness. While was able to stress the importance of following the 4 basic steps advised by FightBac® of Chill, Separate, Clean and Cook – didn’t really have time to give many nitty gritty details on what that means. SafeFood© requires paying attention – keeping your head in the game, so to speak. Bear with me as I elaborate…

Chill is keeping cold foods cold. Using the refrigerator to thaw frozen meats is better than placing these items in the sink or on the counter to thaw during the work day.

Separate raw from cooked or ready to eat foods – in the refrigerator and during preparation. Think about establishing fresh produce work stations in your homes – that is what many restaurants and culinary schools do. This helps avoid risk of cross contamination. Also separate clean surfaces from soiled surfaces.

Clean means different things to different people – as a mom, I have had conversations with my youngsters as to its definition. In terms of food safety, it means surfaces are free of any visible soil; the next step is sanitary which means no disease causing microorganisms are present. Those nasty microbes can’t be seen – so how we clean things is important. You can’t go wrong with hot soapy water and a good rinse. But make sure you are cleaning surfaces with clean tools – sponges and dish cloths are can get gunked up pretty quickly.

Cooking is a way to be sure that we have killed off enough microorganisms that are naturally present in the food. It is hard to touch or see this is done – use a thermometer and check the temperatures. (See previous blog about the SafeFood© Grilling.)



Catherine Hemphill Strohbehn has been a faculty member at Iowa State University in the Hospitality Management Program for 30 years. She is a State Specialist with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach at Iowa State University. As part of her work, she conducts research, develops educational materials and provides programs to help retail foodservices use their resources effectively and ensure safe food is served. Cathy is a registered dietitian with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Certified Professional in Food Safety from the National Environmental Health Association.

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