So we are talking about things in the food safety class today, and we get onto an interesting subject. I mean sitting though 8 hours of training in these things can get pretty mundane after all, so when something causes me to perk up, it is something interesting to be sure.
First off, I do believe in trying reduce my footprint, but I also believe in being realistic. This is to say I am not chasing down Al Gore for a signed copy of An Inconvenient Truth. I do feel things that we all can do to help reduce our foot print are important.
We were having a discussion about Cross Contamination and common ways it can happen that we may not think about. Face it, in a restaurant, it is pretty easy to spot when it happens, and try to avoid it. Go home, and that gets very different. How many times do we set raw chicken on the bottom shelf, above the vegetable crisper drawer? Or any meat for that matter? Any time we do this, it is opening the door for cross contamination, exposing us to nasty bugs like Samonella, Staph, or E Coli to name a few.
One thing most of use might not think about is these reusable cloth bags that we buy from stores so we dont have to waste plastic bags. The problem is that what do you transport in those bags? probably everything. Maybe one trip your protiens are separated, but do you lable the bag that is protein only? Do you wash it to sanitize it? I know it never really crossed my mind until today.
Now think about it this case in point. You go and buy some chicken, and veggies. You split the bags to be safe, and maybe even wrap the chicken in plastic. You in load your food and set the bag aside, for me, its my pantry/laundry room, which is in the hyper-danger zone temperature of about 75 degrees. Now this bag, with even 1 bacteria on it, will have over 1 million growing on it in 10 hours. Now you have to run to the grocery store the next day, so you grab you germ-bag and are off. Lets say you grab something that we call Ready-to-eat. A vegetable, block of cheese, fresh fruit, anything really. Now guess what is going to be covering your foods. Even if you buy more chicken and place that in the bag, that container of chicken is covered, which will get on your cutting board when you cut it open, and now will be all over your food.
I dont mean to scare the daylights out og you, but if you have an at-risk person in your home, which we would classify as a child, an elderly person, someone recovering from chemotherapy, or anyone with a compromised immune system, this can be a very dangerous situation.
What can you do? First, if you have these bags, clean them. Laundry on hot will take care of most of the bugs. If it has cardboard in the bottom, remove and sanitize it. I still continue to take anything from the Potentially Hazardous Foods list in a separate bag. That is things like Meats, Poultry, Fish, Melons, Sprouts and so on.
I hope this gives my readers pause to make sure they are being safe around their homes. Think about where we put foods that can make people sick, and take every precaution around those people who need extra attention and care.