Food safety tips: Keep out of the temperature danger zone (GMA News Online)

Chef Pipo Aluning in action

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last November 18, 2013)

Did you know that it is not safe to leave cooked food out in the open for more than four hours? I admit, I have been guilty of this when my husband and I moved into our new home and had no helper in the kitchen. We would use the rice cooker, for instance, and leave the cooked rice there overnight. The next morning, we would make some garlic rice with it and eat it with gusto.

I didn’t know that there is such a thing as time and temperature abuse, which could lead to food contamination. The moisture inside the cooker provides the ideal condition where bacteria would have a chance to grow. We were fortunate that we did not get any foodborne illness or something, but we stopped that habit and learned to practice food safety, especially since we now have a helper to manage the kitchen.

Preparing to prepare food

Knowing about food safety should be everyone’s responsibility, especially those who work in the food industry. Although culinary schools have food safety classes in their curriculum, most food workers do not undergo any formal culinary training—a lot of them rise through the ranks, learning as they go.

For those who want additional learning, Unilever Food Solutions’ Chefmanship Academy offers 12 modules, including one on food safety launched just this year—and the only one in the country so far. It tackles various topics ranging from personal hygiene, personal safety, foodborne illnesses and food safety hazards, among others.

“Chefmanship Academy is a program that we’ve been running since 2009,” said Chef Joanne Limoanco-Gendrano, a ServSafe-certified chef who has been working with Unilever since 2007. “We made sure that it’s applicable to the market. Basically, our target is local restaurants. We feel that a lot of the chefs or cooks working there—they’re the ones who have been requesting for extra learning.”

 

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