Food Safe on Galiano By Alison Colwell

Last weekend, in collaboration with the Galiano Chamber of Commerce, and the Emergency Services, the Food Program hosted a Food Safe Level One Workshop on the island. 27 people attended, and left with their qualifications.

The class is required for those in the food industry, and food vendors at the market, and it’s useful for volunteers who will be preparing food. It’s a long day, with lots of information to absorb, and afterwards I asked everyone what was the one newest, scariest, most important thing they learned.

Here is a sampling of their comments:

– One of the most interesting things I learned, honestly, was that milk has 90 days from leaving the cows udder to the best before date on the carton – providing handling procedures were followed to the letter. So much for “fresh milk”!

– The most surprising thing I learned was that improper cooling of cooked food is responsible for many more cases of foodborne illness than is inadequate cooking.

– I had started preparing a casserole for a potluck dinner. I had left the partially cooked casserole at home on my counter at a temperature, which (I discovered during the class) could cause food poisoning. I started to panic, left the class, so I could drive home and put it in the fridge.

– The velocity of a sneeze is 160km an hour

– I have always had a horror of finding hair in my food! The Instructor added substance to my paranoia by describing all the bacteria/ viruses possibly lurking in a stray strand!!

– Refrigerator’s need space to circulate cold air – don’t cram them full.

– One of the best pieces of advice of preparing food for the public; Make in small quantities, small portions, so you can maintain quality and temperature control.

– I will not be ordering mashed potatoes & gravy in a restaurant ever again.

– Most alarming – 19% people do not wash their hands after using the washroom, 42% after petting animals, 21% handling money and 32% after sneezing and coughing.

– I am off to sanitize EVERY KNOB and SURFACE AREA!