Sunday, September 20, 2009

Food Safety Month

September is Food Safety Month but it is Anna's job to make sure that every day is Food Safety Day at True Thai. Minnesota requires restaurants to have a Minnesota Certified Food Manager, so at True Thai you not only have a Public Health Nurse, but a Certified Food Manager as well. Our Food Manager makes sure all our food is properly handled and stored and that all our kitchen staff understand the rules for proper food handling.

Here are some professional tips to help you prepare safe meals at home.
  1. Wash your hands with soap and warm water before beginning to prepare food. Anna is very strict about hand washing at True Thai!
  2. Always use fresh ingredients. This is one reason why a busy restaurant is usually safer than one that is not so busy. The longer meat, eggs and produce sit around, the more opportunities there are for mold, bacteria and germs to work their mischief.
  3. Make sure you cook eggs, meat, poultry and leftovers at a temperature of at least 165°F. (Stir fry using a wok heats food to very high temperatures.)
  4. Avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish due to high concentrations of mercury. The best seafood for low mercury is shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish.
  5. Use most meat within a day or two of opening the package (processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, luncheon meat are OK for a week but always keep meat refrigerated)
  6. Keep fruits and vegetables separate from meat, poultry and seafood in your refrigerator.
  7. Wash fruit and vegetables even if you are going to peel them.
  8. Keep your refrigerator set at 40°F, and your freezer at 0°F.
Another tip is to try to avoid overstocking fresh produce and meats when you go to the store. It is tempting to buy a week's worth at a time, but it's healthier to do your shopping 2-3 times a week. If it is convenient for you, shopping daily is best. When you really get to know a store it's easier to be a better shopper.

I was shocked to learn that Minnesota is the third most dangerous state for dining out. It is difficult to find information about restaurant health inspection reports in Minnesota, but I am very happy to say that a Google search for "True Thai food poisoning" pulled up no reports of anyone getting sick from our food!