I’d like to introduce you to my brother. One of my two brothers, to be exact. He is the littlest of the three of us. He’s not really little anymore, although I still have photos of him with his white blonde bowl cut from kindergarten to remind me of those days. All 3 of us kids inherited the cooking gene, I think. Josh and I have cooked quite a bit together, when we’re visiting, or when he’s visiting us. We cook well together. It may get a bit silly, but it usually turns out pretty tasty. I asked Josh to talk a bit about food safety, because it’s something that I think is important. He knows a lot about it, as he’s going to school to be a Health Inspector.
I’ll let him tell you more…
Hey there, my name is Josh. I am Rachel’s little brother.
For the longest time I have been interested in cooking. I believe that Rach already talked about how our Mom inspired her love of cooking. For me it is the same thing. Though deep down, I think it may also have had something to do with the fact that if we cooked dinner when growing up, we did not have to help with the dreaded “after meal activities”.
My interest in cooking led me to Culinary School, where I found my true passion – food hygiene and the control of communicable diseases. This is what I am studying right now in school (Public Health). I learn how to recognize, assess, control, prevent and evaluate hazards in the Public sector. A major part of that is dealing with food hygiene, which is what I will talk a little bit about today.
Food hygiene is a broad topic, so I will touch on a few things today that I think are important for maintaining hygiene in a home kitchen. I will talk about proper cooking temperatures, food thermometers, and a few common misconceptions.
Different foods require different temperatures to achieve proper “done-ness”. Doneness in meats especially is essential in keeping food prepared at home safe. Public Health Inspectors (Canada) and Environmental Health Officers (USA) ensure proper hygiene in restaurants, but they really have no say in how things are done in the home. The majority of food-borne illnesses in North America are attributed to meals cooked at home.
When determining the “done-ness” of a food, the following temperatures are a good guideline to follow. These are the regulated temperatures for Ontario, Canada, so the regulated temperatures in your area may be different.
Whole Poultry (a whole chicken, turkey, duck, squab, etc) – 82C (180F)
Poultry (pieces, ground poultry, anything other than whole) – 74C (165F)
Beef, Pork (ground, whole, parts) – 71C (160F)
Fish – 70C (158F)
Mixtures (adding meat or egg to foods, for example, a casserole) – 74C (165F)
Egg – this one is tricky. My suggestion is at least 65C (150F)
Note: Some products that require raw eggs can be safe by using a process called pasteurization, which, when properly done, won’t make the egg curdle, but will make it safe. If you are cooking something that requires raw egg (egg nog, dressings) I would suggest using a commercially available pre-pasteurized egg product.
I hope you all enjoyed reading this, and I really hope that you will consider the safety of the food that you prepare more often. If nothing else, these could be fun facts to impress people at a cocktail party or something.
Take care, and thanks for reading,
Stay tuned for the next Friday’s Guest Post. Josh will follow up and talk about Food Thermometers.