Second Harvest is in the business of food, and that means we’re in the business of food safety. Food safety is at the core of everything we do, and our 2,500+ partner organizations across the country have the same responsibility as we do to safely pick up surplus food from businesses and distribute it to their communities. That’s why we’ve created A Guide to Food Safety for Non-Profits, a new eLearning module available in English and French that’s a quick refresher on the key components to food safety in an interactive, accessible format.
But whether you’re providing a community food program or just putting away your groceries at home, food safety is paramount for all of us. Here are some basics, with pro tips for food programs and advice for food safety at home.
Highway to (and out of) the Danger Zone
Food will grow bacteria if it’s left at room temperature. The Temperature Danger Zone is the temperature range between 4°C and 60°C where bacteria thrives. To keep food safe is easy: keep it out of the Temperature Danger Zone.
Pro tip: During transportation, store food in coolers with ice packs, where it will stay below 4°C. When you arrive at your location, get food into a fridge or freezer right away. If you’re serving hot food to your community, keep the food in chafing dishes so that it stays above 60°C.
For pros and at home: Stick with this simple rule to keep yourself safe: keep hot food hot, and cold food cold.
Is it sanitized or only clean?
Did you know that cleaning means removing dirt that you can see, whereas sanitizing is killing 99.9% of bacteria? Wiping crumbs off your counter or mopping up a spill are good examples of cleaning; sanitizing requires approved chemical sanitizers such as bleach to kill the bacteria that cause food poisoning.
For pros and at home: To keep everyone safe, clean and sanitize everything you’re using in your food prep areas.
Want to learn more?
Join us Wednesday, June 2, 2021 from 1:30 to 2:30pm ET for our Food Safety for Non-Profits webinar. We’ll help you brush up on your food safety skills and we’ll also host a Q+A. Register for the webinar here