Food Safety (At Lunchtime)

After coming fresh off a ruined weekend, thanks to food poisoning… I thought we’d better go over some food safety tips. Hopefully, I can save you from a horrible weekend like I just endured.

I can’t tell you how often I have seen workers leave their lunch on their lunch table all day. Food such as meat, sandwiches, leftovers, eggs and so on left out at room temperature for longer than one hour is no longer safe to eat. Room temperature is the ideal temperature for bacteria to grow rapidly in food, it’s considered the “danger zone”. So use the fridge to store your food. I have never been to a worksite lunchroom without a fridge, but if you work where there is no fridge or spend your days working from a truck, make sure you use a cooler with proper ice packs to keep food cool. Eat your food within 3-4 days. After that, the likelihood of getting food poisoning increases. Don’t try to go by the smell or taste. Most bacteria that causes food poisoning is odorless and tasteless. When reheating food, cook till it has a temperature of 165°… I know we don’t all have food thermometers on us while at work, so just make sure it’s steaming hot. If using a microwave, stir often to make sure it has been cooked evenly. Always eat on clean surfaces, not the plate you bring on Monday and take home to be cleaned on Friday. Of course always, always wash your hands before you eat.

Food poisoning is no fun! Even washing my produce and my hands (maybe too much, my love for hand sani is real), storing food properly, cooking till the internal temperature is adequate (my love for my meat thermometer is up there too) and never cross contaminating; still here I am laying in bed writing this. So I guess what I’m saying is, even if you follow all the food safety rules there is a small chance you could still get food poisoning. We aren’t always in control of the food we eat. Following the rules significantly lessens your chances. I mean I haven’t had food poisoning in 25 years, so I think that’s something right? When in doubt, throw it out. Serious words to live by.

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