Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Contaminants are large contributing factor to food-born illness. A contaminant,
as you may have guessed, is any object or particle that does not belong in your food (so basically, if it is not food and it is in your food it is a contaminant). Contaminants can be things we can see, but they can also things too small for our eyes to see. There are three types of contaminants;
biological, chemical and physical.

Biological contaminants are generally pathogens, but also come in the form of mold, spores, fermentation, and worms.

Biological contaminants can be avoided by purchasing food from reputable
vendors, ensuring time and temperature control, and by preventing cross contamination (hygiene!).

Chemical contaminants often occur in two types of situations. The first is that household chemicals are not properly stored. They should be kept in cabinets or tubs, away from food and food preparation areas, to avoid contact with food. Chemicals can also contaminate food by being used in concentrations higher than recommended. Be sure to read the label on all chemical containers. Also, some chemical reactions occur when certain foods come in contact with certain types of metals, for example, tomatoes and copper. Make sure to be aware of the metals in your kitchen and how you are using them.

Physical Contaminants are foreign objects that can be seen in the food (as long as they are large enough to see). Take care when opening cans (paper and metal filings can fall into your food), washing dishes (scrubbing
implements can “shed”), and to wash hands thoroughly and be careful
of your fingernails and any bandages.

More next time on how to prevent your food from being contaminated!

Food Safety - Tips for Food Storage

Food and cook/serving ware should never be stored on the floor.

All kitchen items (food, utensils, etc) should be stored 6” from off the floor. This protects your food/equipment from outside contaminants such as pests and spills (not to mention being stepped on!)

Food should only be stored in food-grade containers such as Ziplock bags or Tupperware. Storing food in containers not made for food could allow your food to pick up any harmful chemicals in the container
you are using.

Always make sure you clean and sanitize your containers before you use them!
Storing Food in refrigerators:

-There is a specific order in which food should be stored which is based on the internal cooking temperatures of each particular kind of food - the higher the internal cooking temperature, the lower you place it in the refrigerator. The reasoning for this is that if anything should drip from an upper shelf to a lower shelf, the dripping will be cooked at a temperature higher than the temp it needs to be considered “safe.”

Top Shelf: Ready to eat food
2nd Shelf: Seafood
3rd Shelf: Whole cuts of meat
4th Shelf: Ground Meat
Bottom Shelf: Whole and ground poultry

If you need to, you can store seafood with whole cuts of meat, as their internal cooking temperatures are the same.

Updates! Yay!

Okay - so first I am going to update a few back-logged articles on Food Safety in the SCA - then (in about a week, I hope) I am going to get all the pictures and results of the pig head experiment - then I will be getting some of the research I have been wanting to work on uploaded.

Wish me luck! :)