Thursday, May 6, 2010

On Handling Food

Food handling procedures should be of concern year round, but with the weather finally warming up in NY and elsewhere these procedures rise in importance. Temperature is one of those key items in making sure that food stays fresh, edible and without bacteria that could be avoided. For many people food shopping is a round of heading from store to store, and purchases are left in the trunks of cars or in a wheeled shopping cart for hours.

I think it's time to familiarize ourselves with the best/proper ways of handling food and storing it. Sometimes those lapses in food handling may "only" result in an upset stomache of fairly short duration, and we don't assume, wrongly in many cases, that the way we shopped, prepared or held the food in our homes has anything to do with that tummy ache. And sometimes those lapses in handling can result in some truly serious illness.

As a start, you can head here for some tips we all should know. There are also links there to other articles that contain info we should know, such as At-Risk Populations, Meat Preparation, Poultry Preparation, Egg Products Preparation, Seasonal Food Safety, Appliances & Thermometers, Foodborne Illness & Disease,
Emergency Preparedness.

There's also some important information to know at

With summer soon to be here, try this site for some important information on barbecue safety

And you might want to apply some of what you read above to places where you purchase ready made food, such as take home food stores and restaurants. How are they storing and preparing the food you are going to be eating?

Better safe than sorry.


Aaron said...

Doesn't the government tend to be very conservative, maybe even more careful then you have to be? Some of the things at the sites are just common sense and some seem to be about being almost too careful.

I don't remember ever hearing about any food poisoning cases among any people that I know. Is the problem really one that could affect most people or is it a very small problem that the government is blowing up out of proportion? Wouldn't be the first time.

Lion of Zion said...

this goes back to the point i made (i think it was here) about inquiring about freshness before making a purchase in a bakery, take-out store, pizzeria, etc.
not just when was it made, but how long has it been sitting out in the unrefridgerated display case.


most cases of food poisoning are not serious enough to land someone in the hospital. the person with a "normal" case of nasseau and some vomitting for a day could be food poisoning, but it will never classified as such.

i assume it also depends on the individual person (i.e., immnocompromised individuals such as babies, elderly and those with certain illnesses are more sucesptible). you might be ok with the cole slaw that sat out all day, but do you want to take a chance with your kid, mother or sick neighbor?

Lion of Zion said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JS said...


"We estimate that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year."

That's a whole lot of illness and thus seems pretty serious to me. I've read elsewhere (can't remember where), that food poisoning often goes unreported or isn't attributed properly as people just assume they have an upset stomach or don't know if others were affected (or assume if others weren't, it must just be them). Regardless, I don't know anyone who hasn't at one point or another been bedridden by food poisoning. My sister in law was just working at a pesach hotel where a significant number of guests were stricken after eating a fish dish (nice benefit to paying the thousands of dollars for the hotel).

Another thing to think about, other than preparation, is that so many people forget and leave out food for hours over a long shabbos or yom tov meal as people sit and talk only to put everything back in the fridge later.

Anonymous said...

When I go to the store and I know I'll be out for a while (where I live, the closest "kosher" market is a 45 minute drive away, or when I know I need to go to multiple grocery stores in one outing), I bring a cooler with an ice pack or two, at least in the summer. That food gets brought into the house first and properly put away. Makes me feel a lot safer.

food handling certificate said...

Improper handling and storage of food is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the home. But we can prevent food-borne illness provided that we take certain precautionary measures.