Don’t invite Clostridium Perfringens to your holiday dinners.
This foodborne illness is one of the most common and least known. The Alaska Food Safety and Sanitation Program says it’s a good idea to learn more about it before it becomes an unwelcome guest.
Program director Kim Stryker says Clostridium Perfringens is typically associated with improper cooling of cooked food.
“Sometimes when you’re cooking for groups, you’re doing a lot of prep ahead of time, and you’ve got large containers or pots that you’re working with, maybe a soup, or a gravy, or stuffing or that kind of thing,” she says. “When you cool it down, you want to make sure that you have it separated out into shallow containers,” she says.
Put those uncovered containers in the refrigerator right away.
“Leave the lids off until it’s been cooled down properly, so you’re not retaining heat in the containers. People often think, ‘Oh, just leave it on the counter until it cools so you don’t warm up the refrigerator.’ It’s best to put it right in the fridge uncovered and once it cools down in those shallow containers then put your lids on,” she says.
Bacteria grow fastest between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Stryker advises throwing out food left at room temperature for two hours or more.
Cross-contamination of foods is another source of illness that many cooks don’t think about.
“So in other words, keep things separate. If you are working with raw poultry or raw meat, make sure that you’re washing your hands and changing out cutting boards or utensils before working with things that are not going to be cooked, maybe a salad or appetizers or something like that,” she says.
Doing a buffet? Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. And the next day, reheat the leftovers to at least 165 degrees.
ALWAYS: Wash your hands when preparing food.
- Bans on plastic grocery bags have been cropping up across Alaska’s remote communities. Cordova’s ban went into effect last year. But so far, the larger cities in the state have yet to adopt one.
- Things are not looking good for Haines’ Alaska State Trooper post. Trooper Director Col. James Cockrell intends to reassign Haines’ one trooper position to Bethel. The decision isn’t final yet, but the community conversation about how to handle the loss continued at a Public Safety Commission meeting this week.
- A new study from a Alaskan epidemiologist looks at infants who were exposed to opiates before birth. Unlike previous studies, it goes beyond the sharp rise in cases for a portion of the population to explore what happens next.
- Commercial fisheries in Southeast Alaska have survived two years of state budget cuts but not without some changes. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Commercial Fisheries has cut some positions, ended some monitoring programs, and found some new funding sources.