While grocery stores and restaurants have safety measures in place to make sure food is handled properly, the risk of food-borne illnesses is always a factor. So, as a consumer, we take a look at what you need to know to make sure your food stays safe from behind the meat counter to your kitchen.
Thousands of pounds of meat are handled every day at the Meat Department at Marketplace Foods. But, with that comes the risk of cross-contamination.
North Hill Marketplace Foods Meat Manger Cody Gutknecht said, "Since it is open, we need to make sure we keep those standards of cleanliness at an all-time high because we don't want cross-contamination at all."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48 million people nation-wide contract some form of food poisoning each year with salmonella remaining the leading cause of food-borne illness.
"We don't want our customers to get sick and buy a bad product," said Gutknecht.
To help reduce the chances of contaminating foods, all employees at Marketplace Foods handling perishable items are required to take a class at First District Health Unit to become food handler certified.
"Well, most people don't understand the types of bacteria, how it proliferates, where they come from, and how they're transmitted to people and what they will eventually do. Some of our photos in some of the class are meant to have a little shock value," said Jim Heckman, First District Health Unit Environmental Health Director.
While all meat can pose a risk of food-borne illness, chicken and ground beef are among the top of the list of "risky meats."
Gutknecht said, "Chicken is the biggest worry [because] that's the e-coli. You really got to watch the temperature on chicken."
Twice a day, meat department employees go around with a thermometer to check all the meat.
"All refrigerated meats you want around the 32-34 degree mark," explains Gutknecht. "Frozen meat you really want to have under 0 degrees. Negatives are really good. We do go through and keep all of our cases and keep logs."
With a focus on cleanliness and temperature control, Marketplace Foods hopes to prevent food poisoning one package at a time.
In addition to meat, fresh produce can also be a source of food poisoning.
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