Food Safety

So last week, I took the national Servsafe course through the National Restaurant Association, which also prepped me for the NYC’s Department of Health food handler’s certification. (I tweeted about on Twitter). Now I know way more than most non-food service professionals about what *should* be going on in the kitchen to reduce the possibility of pathogens in your prepared foods. And yes, the training includes a section about food allergens and how to reduce cross contamination. Suffice it to say, if every restaurant really did what they were instructed to do regarding cross contamination alone, there would be far fewer allergy accidents and pathogens flying around.

Case in point. On Saturday, brunch at Peter’s Gourmet, server did major no no: scooped ice with my water glass and served me ice water in said glass. If glass were to break in the ice bin, that would be a physical hazard and a violation. And that’s just a violation I can see. Oy.

Anyway, I’m now all primed to see violations, everywhere. And it seems big food companies are expecting you to have that same information at your fingertips (so they don't have to).

The New York Times ran a story this weekend about how big food manufacturers are placing the onus squarely on the consumer's shoulders to ensure their food safety with processed food products:

"So ConAgra — which sold more than 100 million pot pies last year under its popular Banquet label — decided to make the consumer responsible for the kill step. The “food safety” instructions and four-step diagram on the 69-cent pies offer this guidance: “Internal temperature needs to reach 165° F as measured by a food thermometer in several spots.”

And yet how many of us have food thermometers (I have one in my oven but not an immersion one, yet)

From New York Times : “For more than a decade, the U.S.D.A. has also sought to encourage consumers to use food thermometers. But the agency’s statistics on how many Americans do so are discouraging. According to its Web site, not quite half the population has one, and only 3 percent use it when cooking high-risk foods like hamburgers. No data was available on how many people use thermometers on pot pies.”

There's something off here.

If I’m making a chicken pot pie from scratch, then yes, it’s on me to ensure that I’m creating safe dish for me and my family to consume.

But if I buy a food from you, ConAgra, should you be ensuring that same thing?

Confused about food safety in the home, check out this governmental backed consumer site: Partnership for Food Safety Education.


Unknown said…
Good post. Nice of the food manufacturers to sell us food to eat at our own risk, eh? The more I read about food manufacturers and the inspectors, the more I wish I lived on a farm and could eat all my own food! :) Maybe I should buy another cooking thermometer; I don't use mine too often, only on Thanksgiving!
zebe912 said…
I guess I've always assumed packaged food was sort of eat at your own risk, but I also assume that the company has made every effort to make it safe on their end.

I have a great digital food thermometer. I use it all the time for meat. But it would never occur to me to stick it in a pot pie.
Allergic Girl® said…
yes! me too. my FS chef recommended the tip sensitive digital readout kind. abt $28 he said. remember to calibrate often

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