Food Safety 101 - The Produce Moms

Some of you are probably thinking – this is so obvious!  Wash your hands after you handle raw chicken, sanitize your utensils between uses, wipe down the counter after dinner prep, run the dishwasher, etc.

The truth is…. Food Safety is no joke.  Remember the uproar over the Spinach in 2011, or maybe you remember the Cantaloupe fiasco from just a few months ago?  Food borne illness is the real deal.  We’re talking weeks of sickness, often hospitalization & in extreme cases – death.  It’s an involved topic, so we will break it up into Chapters.  Today’s blog will be reminiscent of “Syllabus Day” in college.  Do they still have those?  It’s the 1st day of the semester when all the Prof does is pass out the syllabus & foreshadow how bad the class is going to suck while mapping out the deadlines and expectations.  Hopefully this will be more entertaining than Syllabus Day.  I never want my blog to suck!  But at least you have a general idea of how this Food Safety 101 series is going to work.  Here’s the 411 on course FS101:

My friend Chelsea Mascari is our Food Safety Manager at Indy Fruit (Yes!  My fellow Britney Spears fan!  We also saw Katy Perry together! Woot-Woot!)  Chelsea is helping me A LOT with this series, so feel free to post questions on these blogs & either Chelsea or I will reply to you.  And that being said – can I just say I think it’s FANTASTIC that my work place has a dedicated staff to Food Safety?!  Chelsea is also our SQF Practitioner (Safe Quality Food).  SQF is the mother of all Food Safety Certifications.  We are actively striving to be certified under SQF at Indianapolis Fruit.

The Federal Government and most food industry organizations offer websites & resource tools for the consumer that focus on Food Safety.  Here are a few of my & Chelsea’s favorites:

http://www.foodsafety.gov/

This is probably my #1 of all the websites- easy to navigate, great resource for recalls & alerts and the food safety tips are categorized by food variety: meat, dairy, produce, etc.

When browsing it today the following tip was most interesting:

Meat in the Refrigerator: How Long Does it Last

  • 1-2 days = raw ground meats, all poultry, all seafood, all variety meats (ostrich anyone?)
  • 3-4 days = cooked meat, poultry & seafood
  • 3-5 days = raw roasts, steaks & chops

http://homefoodsafety.org/

Home Food Safety is copyrighted to the American Dietetic Association.  It’s a lot of the same stuff you will find on the previous website, but I really like all their interactive quizzes & tips.  Here is a link to one that should interest all of us “How Safe is Your Kitchen?

http://www.fightbac.org/

Partnership for Food Safety Education is another consumer-focused food safety website & organization that is partnered with most major industry agencies – for example, the USDA represents the produce industry as a partner of Food Safety Education.  This website offers some incredible resources for educators & parents.  Check out their Education & Outreach section!

Next week we will get into Chapter 2 where we will discuss Selecting & Handling Produce: The Grocery to Home Kitchen.  In staying true to my “Syllabus Day” analogy – your homework is to browse these 3 websites.  Let us know what you think!!!  And leave a comment if you have a question or suggestion for Chelsea & I as we continue working on this series of information.

Now if I could just go back to the “Syllabus Day” stage of my life in Bloomington, Indiana….  Since I cannot, let’s just close with a “Go Hoosiers!” & “Sink the Biz!”

xoxo Produce Mom

Lori Taylor

Author: Lori Taylor

Lori Taylor is the Founder & CEO of The Produce Moms. For ten years she sold fresh produce to over 300 grocery stores throughout the United States, and today she is fully focused on working with the produce supply chain, media, and government to increase fresh produce access & consumption in the US and around the globe. Connect with Lori on LinkedIn.

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2 thoughts on “Food Safety 101”

  1. Oh my gosh. I am cracking up. I spent like 20 minutes the other night trying to decide if the ground turkey I wanted to make was ok to use. Wasnt sure if it had been in the fridge too long. Well…now I know 😉 Good thing I threw it out!! Produce mom shall be my reference!

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