The foods we talk about as being Potentially Hazardous, are ones that we need to treat with extra care because by nature they are generally involved in more incidents of contamination. Although any type of food can become contaminated, some foods by nature are better able to support bacterial growth than others, and these are the ones we call Potentially Hazardous. These foods have not only a history of being involved in cases of foodborne illness, they have a natural potential for contamination due to the way they may be handled or processed.
Typically Potentially Hazardous Foods contain the following;
- Is slightly acidic to neutral pH
- Requires extra controls to limit the growth of microorganisms.
The foods listed as Potentially Hazardous:
- Meats (beef, pork, lamb)
- Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck)
- Shellfish and crustaceans
- Eggs (except those treated to eliminate Salmonella)
- Milk and dairy products
- Heat-treated plant food (cooked rice, beans, or vegetables)
- Baked potatoes
- Raw sprouts
- Tofu and soy-protein foods
- Untreated garlic and oil mixtures
The meats should always be handled with care, cleaned up after, and cutting boards changed. Always wash your hands after dealing with these items in general, and be sure to cook to the final temperature required for that product. The melons, sprouts and such tend to be eaten raw, so ensuring a good supply, and cleaning your produce thoroughly before using and cutting.
Really, this list can be scary, but let’s not let it get out of hand. A few ground rules when you deal with these items, and it will help keep you safer than you were. Make sure whenever you have one of these items, to wash it if it is washable.