How “food safe” are you?

World Health Day is today (April 7), with the World Health Organization highlighting the challenges and opportunities associated with food safety under the slogan “From farm to plate, make food safe.”

New data on the harm caused by food borne illnesses underscore the global threats posed by unsafe foods, and the need for coordinated, cross-border action across the entire food supply chain

Unsafe food can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, and cause more than 200 diseases. Examples of unsafe food include undercooked foods of animal origin, fruits and vegetables contaminated with faeces, and shellfish containing marine biotoxins.

Chilling and storage

It is extremely important to keep cold food cold and hot food hot, so that your food never reaches the “temperature danger zone”.
This is where bacteria can grow quickly and cause food related illness.

The “Danger Zone” is when foods enter the range of 4 °C (40 °F) to 60 °C (140 °F) where bacteria can grow quickly.

  • Keep your raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood separate from other food in the refrigerator at home. Do this by storing them in different containers.
  • Place raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood in sealed containers or plastic bags on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator so raw juices won’t drip onto other food.

The following is from the Government of Canada’s (Health Canada) web site.
http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/safety-salubrite/tips-conseils/storage-entreposage-eng.php

Fridge and freezer storage

The following recommended refrigeration times are for safety, and the freezing times are for quality. (If you store properly wrapped food in your freezer the quality may be maintained for longer periods of time.)

Beef – In fridge for 2-4 days and in freezer for 10-12 months
Pork – In fridge for 2-4 days and in freezer for 8-12 months
Lamb – in fridge for 2-4 days and in freezer for 8-12 months
Ground meat – in fridge for 1-2 days and in freezer for only 2-3 months
Bacon – in fridge 1 week or freezer 1 month
Unopened hot dogs – in fridge 2 weeks or freezer 1-2 months
Opened hot dogs – in fridge 1 week or freezer 1-2 months
Whole chicken/turkey – in fridge for 2-3 days and in freezer for 1 year
Chicken/turkey pieces – in fridge for 2-3 days and in freezer for 6 months.
Eggs – in fridge 3-4 weeks and don’t freeze
Hardcooked – in fridge 1 week, don’t freeze as well.

Lean fish (cod, flounder) in fridge for 3-4 days and in freezer for 6 months.
fatty fish (salmon) in fridge for 3-4 days and in freezer for 2 months
Shellfish (clams, crab, lobster) in fridge for 12 – 24 hours or freezer 2-4 months
Shrimp, scallops or cooked shellfish – in fridge 1-2 days or freezer 2-4 months.

Leftovers…
Cooked meat, stews in fridge for 3-4 days or freezer 2-3 months
Cooked poultry or fish in fridge for 3-4 days or freezer 4-6 months
Meat broth and gravy in fridge for 3-4 days or freezer 4-6 months
Soups 2-3 days in fridge or 4 months in freezer.

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