Safe Handling Procedures Archives

Safe Handling Procedures for Food

When you don your apron and fire up the grill, do not forget your most important weapon in your food safety toolbox—the food thermometer. Proper cooking temperatures kill food borne bacteria. Despite what many people believe, color is not a reliable indicator of doneness. Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often brown quickly and may appear done on the outside, but still may not have reached a safe minimum internal temperature to kill any harmful bacteria. The food thermometer provides an accurate reading of internal temperature. Place the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat to take a temperature reading.

Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures include:

Hot dogs—165 °F or until steaming hot,
Poultry—165 °F,
Ground beef and other ground meat—160 °F,
Whole cuts of pork, lamb, veal and beef—145 °F (followed by a three-minute rest time), and
Fish—145 °F.

Remember to place cooked meats on a clean platter, not on the dish that held the raw product. The juices left on the plate from raw meat can spread bacteria to safely cooked food.

What exactly is HACCP and how does it relate to thermometers? HACCP- Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system is a process that helps control and identify where hazards may occur during food production. The major risk factors during food production are microbiological, chemical and physical contaminants. With strict monitoring and control,HACCP Principals help to reduce the risk factors from the farm to the table.

Consumers are concerned mainly about pesticide residues on their food along with the use of antibiotics.But contrary to popular belief, those hazards are minute compared to the more dangerous hazards in the food industry of microbiological contamination of E. coli, listeria, campylobacter, Salmonella, and C lostridium botulinum.
Consumers can practice safe handling procedures at home by following proper handling, storage, cooking and cleaning procedures when purchasing meat or poultry. To ensure food safety, always refrigerate meat and poultry , separate cooked and raw food, Use separate utensils and dishes for raw and cooked food.  Thoroughly cook meat and poultry to the correct temperature, and refrigerate leftovers to prevent bacterial growth.

So what does a HACCP certified thermometer mean to you? If you are a professional cook and are following HACCP procedures, you must have at least one thermometer that has a traceable certificate of calibration. A traceable certificate of calibration means that the thermometer has been extensively tested within a controlled environment at many temperature points to determine how accurate the thermometer is. The certificate states that the thermometer has been calibrated at a certain temperature point and how close to that temperature the thermometer is. If the thermometer is out of range such as +0.5 C you would add that out of range temperature to your temperature reading, so a reading of 10C would really be 10.5 C on a certificate of calibration thermometer.

What does a HACCP thermometer mean to the home cook or BBq’r? Simply stated the thermometer has been thoroughly tested and is extremely accurate. You can be assured the temperature displayed is correct within a certain temperature point and that it meets HACCP exacting standards.
Would you like to learn more about how important the  HACCP principals are  in food production and the role it plays in public health protection? Read more about it here