Sunday, December 18, 2016

It's that time of year again!

Many readers will have noticed that my posts are less frequent than before I retired.  Nevertheless, I do keep an eye on food safety matters in the news media, and the number of page views each day is relatively stable, with total of around 278k over the years.  This suggests to me that the blog is still fullfilling its original purpose and that the interest in safety of food is undiminished.

The Christmas holiday is fast approaching and, in New Zealand, this is the time for parties and barbecues.  Food is often prepared in advance and may be displayed for some hours outside.  The potential for contamination and temperature abuse is probably higher than at any other time of year.

If you are serving sliced ham or other meats, please remember the safety message: Clean, Cook, Cover, Chill.  Minimise hand contact with cooked food and be careful not to handle raw meats in a way that can allow cross contamination of cooked foods.

If you are cooking on a BBQ, make sure that the meats are cooked through.  I wrote a similar message in 2014.  I use a meat thermometer to check internal temperatures, as you can't determine if meat is properly cooked by its appearance.  "When the juice runs clear" is not a reliable way of ensuring that chicken is properly cooked.  If you have any doubts, please read the earlier post.

There is nothing wrong with leftovers, provided that the food is refrigerated and eaten within 24 hours.  But please remember that leftovers from a party are more likely to have been temperature abused and may have been picked over by your guests, including children.  Are you totally confident of their hand hygiene?  If you are reheating leftovers, ensure that the temperature rises to at least
75 C.

Thank you all for your continued interest in Safe Food.  I wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas holiday.

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