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Northern VA’s Corporate Event Caterer Debunks Four Food Safety Myths

Did you know that September is National Food Safety Education Month?

As such, the Partnership for Food Safety Education; the US Department of Agriculture; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Food and Drug Administration; and the northern Virginia catering industry want consumers to know one thing: Just because you’ve “always done it” — that is, stored or prepared your food — one way doesn’t mean that it’s good, or even safe to continue doing so.

Consider the following debunked myths regarding food safety.

MYTH: My refrigerator feels cold, so it’s surely cold enough. And if it’s not, I’ll just adjust the dial down a few notches.

FACT: What feels cold to the human skin may very well not actually be cold enough to protect perishable foods. It’s important to use a thermometer to ensure that your refrigerator stays at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You might be surprised to learn that nearly half of all home refrigerators operate at temperatures above this level, placing your food and your health in the danger zone.

MYTH: Cross-contamination doesn’t happen in the refrigerator.

FACT: Many people believe that it’s too cold inside a properly cooled refrigerator for harmful bacteria to survive, but the truth is Listeria can grow at temperatures well below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, a recent study showed that your refrigerator’s produce compartment was one of the ‘germiest’ places in the kitchen, containing both Salmonella and Listeria.

Protect your food and your family:

  • Keep fresh fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
  • Clean up food and beverage spills immediately.
  • Clean your refrigerator regularly with hot water and liquid soap.

MYTH: Any bacteria that gather on food left out all day will be killed when I return it to the refrigerator.

FACT: Well, as we’ve already addressed: Bacteria are present, even in the refrigerator. Though cooler temperatures do slow the growth of bacteria, they will not stop their growth entirely. The best way you can avoid the infection of harmful bacteria is to follow the two-hour rule: Refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, cut fresh fruits and vegetables, and all cooked leftovers within 2 hours of cooking or purchasing. Cut that number in half if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

MYTH: Rinsing my fruits and vegetables will ensure they’re fresh and clean, and free of bacteria. There’s no need to dry them, too.

FACT: At Boulevard Café Catering, we’re glad that so many of our corporate catering customers recognize the importance of washing fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking, but too few understand the benefits of blotting dry. Research has indicated that drying fruits and vegetables after rinsing only further reduces the likelihood of contamination.

Now you know. Keep your food and your family safe all month, and all year long. And remember: When you’re planning a corporate event in northern Virginia, and wondering who to call, it’s Boulevard Café Catering.

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