Progressive Grocer

DEC 2016

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20 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | December 2016 T he Centers for Disease Control and Preven- tion (CDC) estimates that about 48 million people each year become sick from a food- borne illness — that's about 15 percent of us. It's time for supermarkets to offer up not only tasty, convenient and affordable food, but also products that promote health and safety. Clean A desirable consumer experience at the store naturally includes, along with tidy vestibules, sparkling floors, hygienic bathrooms, clear aisles and orderly registers, safe, "clean" products. Supermar- kets should safeguard stock by using proper rotation techniques such as FIFO, or "first in, first out," ensuring that products are always within date. It's also the retailer's responsibility to confirm that goods across the store are unadulterated and pass through as few hands as possible before reaching customers' carts. An event to promote in stores: the first week of Decem- ber is National Handwashing Awareness Week, which reminds us to wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds when we handle food. Separate Many perishable groceries include animal- based ingredients such as dairy, eggs, meat, poultry and fish, which are responsible for a larger share of potential foodborne pathogens in the food supply. e rule of thumb in exposing these perishables, as well as several plant-based foods such as nut milks, fresh/frozen produce, meat alternatives, etc., to the "danger zone" — 40°F to 140°F — is a maximum of two hours. Also, at the store or in the home kitchen, keep cutting boards and utensils separate when prep- ping raw animal products versus plant foods, to control cross-contamination. Cook When consumers are preparing food at home, they may think food is ready to eat based on appearance. Not so fast — food must be cooked to a safe internal temperature, which varies between products, from 145°F for whole beef, pork, veal, lamb, fish and shellfish, to 165°F for leftovers, poultry and casseroles. All's By Molly Hembree Chill It's recommended to chill foods in a shallow container in a refrigerator below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or to freeze them below 32°F. is will halt growth of active foodborne pathogens. High acidity, low moisture and low oxygen also prevent the growth of harm- ful microorganisms. In general, most meat, poultry and fish have a shelf life of one to three days, while dairy, fruits and vegetables keep for about a week. Action Steps According to the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) Food & Health Survey 2015, six out of 10 Americans are confident in the safety of the U.S. food supply. Unfortunately, the study reports that only 11 percent of people trust food companies or manufacturers the most to provide accurate information about food safety, considerably fewer than those who trust friends or family (29 percent) or health bloggers (24 percent) to do so. is data should be a catalyst in thinking creatively about how not only to be a wellness destination related to your banner's range of products, pharmacy options or dietitian services, but also in regard to food safety. Could your delicatessen, produce or seafood counter more prominently display safe internal cooking temperatures? How about launching a local food safety campaign? Could your banner improve its food recall procedures? Perhaps all store associates, from managers to clerks to cashiers, could receive training toward food safety certification. Check out trustworthy sources, including Fight Bac!, FoodSafety.gov, AskKaren.gov, FMI e Food Keeper, or the Food Safety & Inspection Service of USDA, for more insights to help improve your store's food safety profile. PG Molly Hembree, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian coordinator for The Little Clinic and Kroger. Food Safety From Store to Home Ensure that your shoppers stay healthy.

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