As one of the largest vertically integrated catfish processors in the country, Heartland Catfish Company is not only known for its high-quality and sustainable products but its strong commitment to food safety as well. National Food Safety Education Month, founded by the Food and Drug Administration, is celebrated each September to raise awareness about food safety education as well as highlight tools and resources to maintain safe food consumption. Join us this September in celebrating National Food Safety Education Month and learn more about food safety precautions, preparedness and illness prevention when you are cooking in your home.
Foodborne illness is a common public health problem that is preventable but can be life-threatening. According to the CDC, foodborne illnesses affect more than 45 million Americans every year and hospitalize approximately 125,000 annually. Many outbreaks and cases of foodborne illness result from consuming the two most common types of foodborne pathogens: bacteria such as Salmonella, Listeria or E. coli, and viruses like norovirus or hepatitis A. While Heartland guarantees a safe and quality meal for all our products, it is critical to know how to protect yourself from these foodborne illnesses while preparing Heartland Catfish and other meals.
Cooking/Chilling Times and Temperatures
When cooking a meal, it is vital to know the proper internal temperature of your dish to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present. It is important to be aware of the different cooking times for specific meat cuts, as not all cuts require the same internal temperature. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, all catfish should register an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit before consumption. The best way to be sure of this is by using a food thermometer before removing the fish from the heat source. When freezing or refrigerating your catfish, the FDA states that your fish must be refrigerated below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, the FDA affirms that if the internal temperature of any perishable refrigerated food registers below 45 degrees Fahrenheit it should be safe to eat but should be cooked and consumed in a timely manner.
Maintain a Clean Cooking Space
No matter how clean any Heartland product is, it could still be contaminated by germs in your kitchen. Countertops, utensils, cutting boards and especially unwashed hands provide easy ways for clean foods to encounter germs. Practices as simple as washing your hands, sanitizing kitchen surfaces and keeping utensils clean go a long way when defending against food poisoning. It should be a routine practice to wash your hands and kitchen countertops before, during and after meal preparation. Dishes, cutting boards and any utensils used to prepare a dish should be washed with hot, soapy water, especially if exposed to seafood.
Cross-contamination is one of the most common and frequent ways people contract a foodborne illness. Cross-contamination occurs when harmful germs spread from one food to another. This can happen if items are touching the grocery cart, or refrigerator or even if exposed to the same preparation tools such as cutting boards. Thankfully, when purchasing frozen fillets, the packaging fully encloses the fish taking out some of the headache of keeping it separated. However, when preparing the frozen fillets or nuggets, it is important to keep the fish from touching other food items, and clean with care what it does encounter.
Heartland Catfish’s Customer Commitment
Heartland Catfish is committed to providing our customers with delicious, high-quality and most importantly, safe catfish products. National Food Safety Education
Month is a good time to remind us of the importance of clean and bacteria-free food. Knowing and practicing these simple yet effective food safety tips can help foster a clean and safe food environment, perfect for enjoying your next Heartland Catfish meal.
Interested in learning about how Heartland Catfish Company ensures the best U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish on the market? Check out our website to see how we ensure the highest quality for our products.