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Author: admin, 11.01.2014. Category: What Is Organic Food

Food safety at home can really be broken down into three simple factors: time, temperature, and storage.
Another factor when considering temperature is the internal temperature of the food you are cooking.
Hopefully this provides a little insight into some of the steps that are taken in a professional kitchen to ensure that the food is not only delicious, but safe to eat and that you can use in your own kitchen.
Microorganisms that are the primary concern to food processors include bacteria, yeasts, molds, and viruses. Microorganisms that cause food spoilage and degrade food quality are not the same microorganisms that cause foodborne illness. Knowing that there are microorganisms that are desirable in food, as well as those that cause spoilage and possibly even illness, it is important as a food processor to understand the conditions that affect how these microorganisms grow and survive.
Much like there is a scale to measure how hot or cold a substance is (temperature), there is also a scale to measure the acidity of a product: pH. Now that you have a basic understanding of how the conditions in food can affect the way microorganisms grow in food, you can manipulate your food product to create a safe product.
In scientific terms, the pH scale actually measures the concentration of positively-charged hydrogen ions [H+] and negatively-charged hydroxyl ions [-OH] that are present in a sample. In general, the pH of a product will determine which microorganisms are capable of growing in it. There is one important pH value to know in regards to food safety, and that value is pH 4.6.
When a food item is comprised solely or mainly of ingredients with a pH of 4.6 or lower, we refer to those food items as an acid food.
When the pH of a food item is greater than 4.6, that food is referred to as a low-acid food. Water activity (aw) refers to the amount of free water that is available in food for microbial growth.
A variety of microorganisms can grow in food products, and each microorganism can survive in different water activity ranges. Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. If you start typing the word “undercooked” in a Google search, the word “chicken” will appear as a recommended autocomplete.
This can all be overwhelming for someone who wants to prepare a plump, and perhaps piquant, poultry plate. For further guidance, check out the chart below that lists out the cooking temperatures required for safely preparing chicken as well as other types of meat.
On August 29, 2014, Kraft announced the recall of 7,691 cases of select Kraft American Singles Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product. The Temperature Danger Zone is a big buzzword in the food safety world, but to most people, it means nothing.
So as you prepare for your next gathering, make sure you are prepared with enough platters, a thermometer, and plenty of room in your refrigerator. Using these thawing and cooking methods, families and dinner guests should be filled to the brim with safe and delicious turkey.
Well, it’s almost that time of year when we break out the mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and of course, the turkey. Your turkey should be completely thawed before you begin the cooking process in order to remain safe to eat. If you choose to thaw by water, make sure it’s cold water (no more than 70 degrees Fahrenheit).
Now that you know the basics of cooking a safe turkey, you will be well on your way to creating a safe, enjoyable dinner for your friends and loved ones. Potato Day, which falls on January 28th each year, has long passed, but I choose to celebrate potatoes today.  To spuds all over the world, in all their many forms, I rejoice in your palatability.
Why?  One of the reasons potatoes are so susceptible to pathogens is because they are often prepared improperly.  Baked potatoes are commonly cooked in tin foil, and that is fine, but if the wrapped potatoes are left out to cool on the counter too long, the combination of being wrapped up and sitting out for an extended period of time creates an ideal environment for Clostridium botulinum—or botulism—to occur. In the food service industry we have protocols and procedures to follow to ensure that the food we handle and serve is as safe to eat as possible. Most people don't even think about this and just store their food where ever there is room in the refrigerator. An understanding of the growth requirements of the different types of microorganisms will allow the food processor to better control or eliminate microorganisms in food. Acidity is perhaps the most important component of food preservation that can be manipulated in food.
Water activity is a measurement of the amount of free water that is available in a food for microorganisms to use for growth.
The main methods of preservation for shelf-stable foods are controlling the water activity or lowering the pH.
At a pH of 4.6, Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes the deadly disease botulism, is prevented from growing and forming deadly toxin. Acidified foods have a pH of 4.6 or less due to the addition of acid or acid foods to low acid ingredients. It is a measurement of the water that is not bound to components in the food, and therefore available for microbial growth. Both salt and sugar work by binding with free water in the food product, making that water no longer available to microorganisms for growth.
This can be done during cooking, by “cooking down” your recipe for a longer amount of time and allowing more water to evaporate. Questions like, “I ate undercooked chicken, am I going to get sick?” pop up on the first page. But have no fear; there are a few simple tips that will keep you in the clear (as opposed to the pinkish juices which flow from undercooked chicken).
Although seeing red or pink in the middle of a piece of chicken should serve as a warning flag, the only way to know for sure if the meat is (or is not) cooked all the way is to take its temperature. This is the standard temperature required for chicken preparation and there are plenty of good food thermometers out there to help you with that.
You’re probably wondering why you should care if you are not a worker in the food industry. Most of us love this time of year and want to jump for joy that the bleak winter days are behind us. Before you pull out the meat and whip up your favorite salads, it’s best to take a little time to review (or learn) how to ensure a safe barbeque and grilling experience. Never leave perishable foods out for longer than two hours, or one hour if the temperature is hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside.
It is safe to partially cook meat in the microwave in order to speed up the grilling process.
Chances are you have a lot of eager dining guests ready to “dig in.” We seem to really enjoy establishments where the food is limitless and immediate. These hazards arise from the fact that food is left out for an extended period of time and that many people have access to it. Again, the fact that the food you serve sits out for an extended period of time can make it dangerous to eat if not properly stored and monitored.
Foodborne illness can also be transmitted by food handlers, and in the case of buffets, this primarily means your dining guests.
They don’t take too much training, but rather, they require just a bit more monitoring and attention.
If you’re intending to use butter, oil, or herbs, separate them into small bowls to avoid contaminating the entire stick, bottle, or jar respectively. If any meat items, such as sausage, are included in your recipe, make sure they are completely cooked and safely cooled (to 70 degrees within two hours and then down to 41  degrees within an additional 4 hours) before adding them to your dry ingredients.


Outdoor methods such as grilling and smoking the turkey must maintain a temperature of 225-300 degrees. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time when we get together to enjoy these foods with those we love most. If you choose to thaw by refrigerator, keep the turkey in the original wrapper and do not open, as juices can leak out and contaminate other foods.
That means if you’ve purchased a 20lb frozen bird, you’re going to need at least four days to thaw that bad boy in the fridge—so plan ahead. It’s a good idea to put the bird in a large bowl or pan inside the sink to contain pathogens. While not all of these procedures are needed at home, some of the most basic and important can help protect anyone who eats your food. In order to maintain food safely it can be held at temperatures within the unsafe range for no more than four hours total.
Essentially you want to put food in an order where the most hazardous food is towards the bottom.
In order to prevent food from spoiling or causing illness, we use different methods of food preservation to control or destroy the growth of microorganisms associated with food. Most foodborne illness can be prevented through proper food processing and handling techniques. Microorganisms are used in the food industry to make bread rise, ferment beer and wine, and to make pickles and sauerkraut. The following factors will influence the growth of bacteria: food, acidity, temperature, time, oxygen, and moisture.
Bacteria need sugars, proteins, and some other materials such as calcium and phosphate to survive.
Examples of acidified foods are “pickled” products such as pickled beets, cocktail onions, and cherry peppers. All microorganisms have a level of water activity that they prefer to grow within, and have lower limits as to how “dry” a food can be in order for them to grow. Salt is more effective at binding water than sugar, but the influence of taste should be considered before choosing to alter your recipe. Both work by removing free water, reducing the amount that is available for microorganisms to grow.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. There are pages and pages full of advice on how you can know your portion of the original white meat is thoroughly cooked. Store raw poultry in the bottom of your refrigerator (so that its juices will not drip onto other foods) and make sure all knives and cutting boards are vigorously cleansed.
The recall has been issued as a precaution as no one has been reported ill, but it brings to light an important facet of food safety—temperature.
And for those summer picnics, where the temperature is 70°F, or higher, food should not be left out for more than two hours. One way a lot of folks celebrate the spring and summer months is to host a family barbeque and do a little grilling. The fact is that when the weather warms up, there is a greater risk of getting foodborne illness. Leaving items out at room temperature is just asking for trouble, as bacteria will develop and grow rapidly in this kind of environment.
A thermometer works much better (after all, that’s what it was made for.) According to the USDA, ground beef and pork should reach a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the meat is grilled and ready, do not put it back on the same plate unless it has been thoroughly washed. Where else can you get salad, mashed potatoes, lasagna, turkey, and French fries all in one meal?
If you work in such an establishment, you have the responsibility to monitor the buffet area, so you can watch for potential hazards and keep the food safe to eat.
For example, liquids from meat or some other hot dish may end up on lettuce leaves in the salad area.
Unfortunately, some individuals don’t know very much about germs and food safety, and as a result, they carry germs that could harm others. Cooks slave away in the kitchen for hours, preparing for days to produce a succulent turkey. But ask yourself, how? Cold running water will do nothing to limit the quantity of harmful pathogens on the interior or exterior of your turkey.
Discard whatever you don’t use from the small bowls, as the remnants will likely be contaminated with salmonella and other icky stuff. In fact, there are numerous ways to cook a turkey, such as in the oven, on the grill, using a smoker, in a pressure or slow cooker, and even in the microwave.
If possible, put your thawing bird at the bottom of the fridge to prevent juices from dripping onto ready-to-eat foods, other ingredients, and containers. Make sure you change the water every 30 minutes so you can make sure the water is at the correct temperature.
Cool spots inside your bird become a perfect (read: dangerous) breeding ground for pathogens like Salmonella.
Food kept at temperatures within this range have a higher chance of becoming unsafe due to bacterial growth. What this means is that no matter what food you prepare if it drops to an unsafe temperature for two hours your window for that food to still remain safe would only be another two hours. A good rule of thumb for considering what foods are PHF's is if you would not leave it out of the refrigerator overnight then it is probably a PHF. The way we store food at work in ascending order is raw poultry, ground meats, whole meats, seafood, and cooked or otherwise ready to eat foods. By understanding how food microorganisms grow and survive, we can use this information to more effectively preserve food and increase the safety of the foods we eat. Most food regulations are focused on keeping the food supply safe, and most of the requirements put in place are established with food safety, rather than quality, in mind.
Foodborne pathogens will not alter the look, taste, smell, or feel of a food, but WILL cause illness. Many yogurts and dairy products contain probiotics, which are bacteria that promote healthy digestion. Since removing the food from our food product would leave us empty handed, we must look to other ways to control microorganisms.
When water binds to these components, it is no longer available for microorganisms to use for growth. Understanding how food supports the growth of microorganisms can help improve both food safety and food quality. As the pH values decrease (become more acidic), the microorganisms have a more difficult time surviving and growing.
For that reason, water activity is often used as a way to preserve foods and gain a longer shelf-life. Websites of varying degrees of credibility are lying in wait to give you advice as to how you can eat chicken safely, dodging the ever-present threat of salmonella. In this temperature range bacteria multiplies the fastest; therefore, it’s encouraged that food not be left in this zone for more than four hours.
Remember to keep hot food hot: keep it in chafing dishes, warming trays, or slow cookers and keep it above 135°F.
If you choose to prepare your meat this way, preheat your grill in advance, so it is hot and ready to go when your meat is. Another type of cross contamination is the transmission of germs from one’s hands to a serving spoon or spatula.


You (or a coworker) should diligently check the temperature of each hot dish at least every two hours.
When individuals don’t wash their hands, for example, and then touch food, they transmit germs to the food. It would be a shame to spend all of that time and hard work perfecting the bird, just to have your dinner guests running to the restroom from foodborne illness (or food poisoning for all you lay people). Stuffing is already dangerous enough, considering how difficult it is to raise the temperature of dense stuffing to appropriate temperatures, that adding raw sausage to the mix almost guarantees you a foodborne illness outbreak. If you choose fresh, you will need to buy the turkey only one or two days before the big day. If you’ve got crisper drawers occupying the bottom of your fridge, put the turkey in a roaster pan or on a cookie sheet to thaw. In addition, the stuffing needs to be moist as the water will quickly turn to bacteria-destroying steam. It will be safe and healthy to eat for three to four days—but absolutely no longer than seven days. At home it might be a little more difficult because refrigerators were not designed with this in mind. However, with a sound understanding of how food microorganisms grow and survive, the food processor can control or destroy microorganisms and even improve food quality.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance that food is properly processed and preserved to prevent foodborne illness, because there are no obvious signs that foods are not safe to eat.
Pathogenic bacteria can proliferate quickly in the Temperature Danger Zone, to the point where they can cause foodborne illness if allowed to grow for long enough time.
Any values below 7 are considered acidic, while values larger than 7 are basic (or alkaline). Therefore, small changes in pH measurements actually represent large changes in [H+] concentration (and therefore, acidity). Therefore, the acidity of a food product is often used as a means of preservation and a way to keep food safe for consumption.
In addition, issues with food safety can occur during the grilling months because it involves a lot of meat. In addition, it is a good idea to serve meat on a separate platter than other food items such as salads or veggies. If you ever see evidence of cross contamination, whether it is from foods that have been mixed or a ladle where the handle has fallen in the food, you should remove the food immediately. Immediately following your temperature check, you should stir the food to allow the heat to redistribute, which will keep it safer for guests. This way, the aroma of the turkey can waft through the house, making everyone’s mouth water. Whichever method you choose, employ a food thermometer to ensure your turkey reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If this is the case, be sure you know the “Dos and Don’ts” of preparing a turkey, so everyone can enjoy a safe, delicious dinner without any unwelcome surprises. If you don’t like the idea of the stuffing going inside the turkey (we don’t either), you can opt to simply make the stuffing by itself and serve it that way. In this case you have two hours to get the temp below 70°F then an additional four to get it below 40 °F. The idea behind storing food this way is that if anything leaks or drips onto the stuff below it, it will not affect that food since it will be cooked to a higher temperature.
Therefore, it is important to hold potentially dangerous food below 41°F (refrigeration or freezing) or above 135°F (hot-holding), to keep it out of the Temperature Danger Zone. The scientific definition of water activity refers to its measurement in equilibrium relative humidity. The Temperature Danger Zone doesn’t just apply to food handled by food workers, it applies to all food.
Unfortunately, they aren’t quite as wonderful, but they do carry just as many options – for getting sick, that is. The important thing to remember is to keep the turkey out of the danger zone at all times and to cook the turkey thoroughly to prevent foodborne illness.
For the best measurement, take the bird’s temperature in the breast, the thickest part of the meat. Here is a helpful list of things to be aware of when planning and preparing your turkey feast. Drench it with chicken stock before baking and even your grandmother won’t know it didn’t come from the bird. Now, you’re asking, does the little timer that comes with the turkey tell me when it’s reached 165 degrees? Together these two factors combine to be what is known as the "time temperature danger zone". If a potentially dangerous food is exposed to the Temperature Danger Zone, it may only be there for 4 hours or less.
Anaerobic microorganisms can grow when oxygen is removed, like in vacuum packaged foods, or in canned foods. Ray McKinnie, Interim Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg. Illnesses such as Shigella, Norovirus (the stomach flu), and Hepatitis A can present themselves when food is improperly handled. Once it has been exposed to the Temperature Danger Zone for more than 4 hours, it must be thrown out. Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes the foodborne illness botulism, is an anaerobic bacteria. Symptoms for those infected can include vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, fever, blurred vision, and several other less-than-desirable issues. You should also keep cold foods on ice or in some type of refrigerator, ensuring that they stay at 41 degrees or lower. Of course, you really cannot tell if one has washed his or her hands (unfortunately!) but you can look for any hazardous behavior like blowing one’s nose and then handling food. Therefore if you have a situation where your food has no oxygen present (canned or vacuum packaged foods), other factors need to be in place to prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Obviously, your food should be kept in containers that are waterproof or serving dishes with high edges, so you can prevent any melted ice from entering the food. A third category of microorganisms are known as facultative anaerobes, which are capable of growth in the presence or absence of oxygen. And it probably goes without saying that you need to regularly check the temperature and change the ice.
When you change the ice, make sure it ends up in the sink or garbage can, rather than in someone’s cup. Since aerobic microorganisms need oxygen to grow, their growth can be stopped or delayed by reducing oxygen levels.
Once the aw of a food is brought to 0.85 or below, the food is considered shelf stable and may be stored at room temperature.
That ice has undoubtedly made contact with several germs and could potentially carry foodborne illness and cross contamination dangers. Water activity is often the method used to keep foods such as jams, jellies, bread, and cookies safe and shelf stable. Failing to keep food at safe temperatures allows them to enter what is called the “danger zone.” This is an ideal environment for all sorts of bacteria to grow, potentially causing foodborne illness for those who eat the contaminated food.



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