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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Prevent cross-contamination in your refrigerator and be nice to the environment

Reduce, Reues, Recycle and Food Safety - Great ways you can be food safe and protect your environment too.
by Jim Chan

Tired of seeing all the plastic food containers piling up in your kitchen or in your recycling bin? 

All these can become waste if we toss them in the garbage and end up in the landfill. You can understand why effective waste management is so important to us as the waste we create has to be carefully controlled and does not harm the environment and your health. You can help by learning about and practising the Three R's - University of Toronto's waste management on Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Practising these activities is not only important for a healthy environment, but it can also improve public health too.

In Toronto, these plastic food containers such as clam-shell containers like the ones which hold fruits, berries, store-bought sandwiches and bakery trays are already being recycled through the ReUseIt - City of Toronto waste management program. This is good news to the environment BUT can we do better?

Love environment and food safety? See how to reuse plastic food containers to hold frozen food during defrosting before recycling them

There are many benefits of using plastic food containers to store or thaw frozen food, including packaged meat, poultry and seafood. The containers come in different sizes, food safety grade, usually leak proof and with tight fitting lids. Best of all, they are FREE.

All you have to remember is to store raw food, especially meat, poultry and seafood in their original package in containers as in the photo (left and right).
Always wash and sanitize the containers after each use, especially when used for storing raw meat, and toss them into the recycling bin when after a few uses or when they are damaged.

After working as a public health inspector for many years, I regularly tell food business operators during food safety inspection to
''always put packages of raw meat, poultry and seafood on a plate or tray and cover them with a cover, or in a container with a lid before refrigerating''. Now, with all these free empty plastic food containers in the kitchen, they can use them to store food and reduce the risk of cross-contamination in the refrigerator as well as better for the environment too.

In the refrigerator 

What temperature should be in the fridge?
Keep refrigeration temperature at 4 C/40F or lower and freezer at -18C/0F or lower. 
More on Healthy refrigerator at home

Where to store raw food in the refrigerator?

Always store raw food on the lower shelves of the refrigerator below ready-to-eat food so the meat juices won’t drip on other food.

Raw meat juices often contain harmful bacteria like E.coli, Salmonella that can cause food poisoning'.

Also, using a leak proof container can greatly improve food safety in a food establishment and at home.

Food Safety Message From Dr. Justin Beaver of  
Health Inspector's Notebook

Avoid foodborne illness at home, 
keep food safe

What to do with these plastic containers after ?

These containers are perfect for gardening, here are a few tips:


  1. Your post are simply fabulous and inspiring. Thanks for sharing.
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  2. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the good work.Best quality food managing products on amazon

    1. Thank you so much for the nice message Hasan & thanks for visiting my Blog site. I enjoy sharing my public health experience with the public, especially in the topic of food safety. I like the products listed on your web link & thanks for sharing. Please feel free to provide comments & feedback on other articles on my Blog.

  3. Excellent. one of the best articles I have every read. This is the information which I have been searching. Great information.
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    1. Thank you for the nice message, love your blog post on food containers too.

  4. This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.
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    1. Thank you so much Albert, I like sharing my food safety experience that I gained as a public health inspector for many years. I like the web link meat bag on your post.

  5. I work in a restaurant and we use a lot of food and produces came in plastic packages. I was told by the government that they don't recycle plastic, only cans and glass bottles. Your idea of reusing these to store food is an excellent idea, I proposed this idea to my boss at the last meeting and was told the company is not making any changes. Too bad, I took some of the plastic containers home and have used them to store not just food, but other dry food like beans, grains rice etc. Thanks for the information.

    1. Thanks for the nice comments, too bad people continue to throw such containers away after 1 use. They are filling up the landfill, destroying the environment & causing changes to our climate. These plastic containers can be reused many times for food storage, as well, when they become to break, you can also use them for starting seeds in gardening too.

  6. This blog is right on target. I've enjoyed reading your posts and hope to see more. Kudos to the author.
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