Interns give food safety refresher

From Press Reports


In the kitchens of hospitals, food safety practices are crucial to providing patients with nutrition that will help improve their health. Mississippi State University dietetic interns Rachel Burke and Ali Pyron conducted an in-service on Sept. 4 for the dining staff of North Mississippi Medical Center-Eupora. The in-service reviewed storage guidelines with staff members.

When storing food, the “first in, first out” rule applies. Newer foods that have just arrived on the truck have later expiration dates and must be stored in the back, and the others moved forward to be used first. At this time the employee accepting the delivery should keep an eye out for dented cans, damaged items and anything else that may be harmful.

After preparing a meal, all ingredients may not be used so they are stored in the cooler. Because these foods have already been opened, they can spoil quickly if not stored correctly on the right shelf. All are wrapped in plastic wrap or placed in a container with a lid.

Another extremely important part of storing opened food is labeling and dating. The name of the item and day it expires must be written on the label. Food such as meats and prepared sandwiches have a three-day shelf life while other foods such fruits and cheese may be kept up to a week. The shelf life of poultry, meats and seafood is shorter because they can easily be contaminated by different bacteria.

These regulations are put into place by the Mississippi State Department of Health to ensure the proper handling and preparation of meals served. Hospital patients are especially at risk being that their immune systems are less able to fight illness.