Sunday, 20 March 2011

TV Cooking shows - Food Safety Standards

A discussion is raging on whether TV Cooking shows should have to keep to the same food hygiene standards as chefs and food handlers working daily with food do.

The question is also being asked by The Guardian in the UK after a recent Master Chef series where a contestant had chipped red nail polish and viewers surmised that chips of polish ended up in the dough she kneaded and another contestants’ hair was flying around.  Of course there was the sweat dripping from one of the contestants into the hot pan...ummm.

This sort of behaviour we have also seen on Come Dine With Me with unwashed hands moving from task to task, food being dropped on the floor and scrapped up to be served, or leaving sushi on the bench where the cat has a nibble.....These contestants are not professionals, like when Nigella licks the spoon, just hope it isn’t re-used!

The Guardian asks - do we really care?  In many homes cooking is a lot less focused on hygiene than your average professional kitchen, clearly, though while many of us live by the five second rule, when it comes to cooking, most people will go to the effort of separating raw meat from vegetables, washing their hands and wiping their surfaces before preparing food. Some people might go to the trouble of tying long hair back, but how many would cover their rings up with plasters?

Consumers are more aware and expect chefs and food handlers to not use the same glove to make a sandwich and collect money and to follow these basic food standards.

Do are you think a bit of bacteria never really does us any harm?

Should TV cooking shows be adhering to food safety standards?

CFT QLD offers food hygiene training online, onsite or by correspondence.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

How to Avoid Salmonella Poisoning

I found this great article on This is the type of knowledge EVERYONE should have when it comes to handling food.

  1. You can't detect Salmonella by sight or smell but the symptoms are very much like flu. It's effects can be fatal for children, pregnant women, senior citizens, and people with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps that start about 12 to 72 hours after infection and may last four to seven days. In addition, there might be chills, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Here are some tips to avoid this potential killer.
  2. First of all, wash your hands and kitchen surfaces before working with any food. This may seem like a duh sort of step but many people forget. Don't forget to wash your hands and counter tops or cutting boards in between working with the veggies and raw meats to avoid cross-contamination. Antibacterial soap, in general, is helpful but studies show that it's not much better than any soap and water. Use fresh, clean dish towels and change often. Alcohol and bleach, like cleansing powder, have proven to be effective against bacteria.

  3. Tomatoes, grapes, spinach, and just about any produce that might touch the ground are suspect. Thoroughly wash all your produce and cut off any vines or parts that were attached to the plant. Cut the little hard nib off the tomatoes as well since the bacteria can implant itself there easily. Take off the outer leaves of cabbage and lettuce, and the outer skin of onions. All fruits should be washed, no matter whether you are eating the peeling or not.

  4. A food thermometer should be used to be sure the safe minimum internal temperature has been reached especially when cooking meat, poultry, and egg products. Food containing raw eggs should be thoroughly cooked before eating - yes - even cookie dough (drat)!
    Here is a list for specific minimum internal temperatures:
    * Beef, veal, and lamb - 145 °F.
    * Pork - 160 °F.
    * All poultry - 165 °F.
    * Ground meats - 160 °F.
    * Egg dishes and casseroles - 160 °F.
    * Fish - 145 °F.
    * Leftovers - 165 °F.
    * Bring soups, gravy and sauces to a boil when reheating.

  5. Salmonella poisoning usually comes from poultry and raw eggs that haven't been properly cooked, or frozen and not properly cooked, or generally left sitting too long after being cooked. It can also occur by handling reptiles such as turtles. Also from not washing hands after cleaning up after other pets.

  6. Even though this is not exactly a step, I want to strongly advise everyone who goes out to restaurants to pay attention to the condition of the general area in the establishment! If you go into a bathroom and a sign says, "Employees - remember to wash hands before returning to work," and there is no soap available - report them! I have, and will continue to do so! Having a great deal of experience working in the food serving industry, no soap is an indication of a great deal more wrong than a lack of soap! P.S. - don't eat there! (Go get a camera quick and take pics!)

CFT QLD offers flexible, easy to follow food safety training. You can do it in your own time online or by correspondence. visit us at