It’s glorious January again: holidays, Australia Day, time out and barbecues.
It’s a time when your home and galley fridge can get overloaded.
This means that temperatures struggle to go down and keep food safe.
So when catering from on board try to utilize eskies, extra ice and stricter food handling rules in the hottest months: here are some pointers.
* In a fridge remember to store raw foods on lowest shelves, cooked foods above. This stops any juices or residue from the raw food spilling onto cooked food. An added precaution is to cover items or food on trays with plastic film.
* Remember to clean utensils, chopping boards and knives between raw and cooked food preparation.
* Never use the same tool, bench top or cloth for both jobs. This prevents cross-contamination.
* Your refrigerator should achieve a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius and should be able to ‘recover’ in reasonable time. Why not buy a small fridge thermometer to keep a check?
* When cooking food on a barbecue, the internal temperature should be 60 degrees Celsius or above. This kills off Salmonella, a common bacterium around meat and poultry. You can obtain an inexpensive food thermometer like mine from the Ryde College Book Shop (see link).
* Salmonella has a 1% death rate, so it’s healthy to avoid in large numbers on food.
* Don’t be tempted to use leftovers once they have been at room temperature for longer than four hours. You would have to boil them for up to and upwards of an hour to destroy the Staphylococcus or Clostridium toxin. Clostridium botulinum, or ‘botulism’ poisoning has a 50% death rate. Fortunately it’s rare and usually linked to canned non-acidic foods where the can’s seal has been damaged by denting or rust. To be safe, avoid dented or rusted cans.
* Try to make sure that if you are preparing food for numbers, you wear clean clothes for the kitchen and tie up loose hair.
* Wash hands thoroughly after distinct tasks, again, to avoid cross contamination.
* And, finally of course, though I hardly need to mention, wash hands after visiting the heads or smoking.
It costs nothing to behave more professionally. But the rewards are there – showing love and respect to food, friends and valued guests.
Enjoy the Summer break!