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Keep F.A.T.T.O.M. Out The Kitchen

“What They do World” I’m here to talk to you about F.A.T.T.O.M., now before I continue, I apologize, if you were offended I’m not talking about your ex or your least favorite uncle. I am talking about the acronym, mnemonic device us culinarians use to remember how to maintain food safety within the kitchen. It is the 6 main factors that cause foodborne pathogens to grow before I continue let me quickly explain what a foodborne pathogen is, it is basically any bacteria that can grow on food and cause illness. These bacteria can lead to you getting one of over 40 different “foodborne illnesses” which could have mild to severe consequences, such as vomiting or diarrhea or worst death. The top five foodborne illnesses are Norovirus; Salmonella; E. coli O157:H7, Enterohemorrhagic or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli; Shigella spp.; and Hepatitis A virus. Some of these you may have heard of, but trust me you want no parts of any of these or the plethora of other illnesses. Now I didn’t just write this to scare you about the food we consume, no instead I write this to help you reduce the spread of bacteria, lower yours and others risk of illness, and one of the most important reasons are to spread knowledge that will help you become a better culinarian.

The F is for food, foods that are protein or carbohydrate “rich” are easily contaminated, this include animal product, eggs, dairy, breads pasta and similar products.

The A is for acid, foods that have been contaminated can be come acidic which is no good for the body which will most likely lead to a foodborne illness.

The T is for temperature the best temp for pathogenic causing bacteria to grow is 40° to 140°F (5° to 60°C) this is known as the “Temperature Danger Zone” (TDZ) so it best to keep food above or below these temps.

The T is for time you don’t want to leave your food out for too long especially in the “TDZ” because it has more opportunity to become contaminated.

The O is for oxygen which if you leave your food out and not sealed properly oxygen can get into and help speed up the rate of contamination.

The M is for moisture, which is a great aid in the growth of harmful bacteria and can easily double the rate of growth if left in the “TDZ”.

So these are the main factors that cause food poisoning/stomach flu, now you know F.A.T.TO.M. So now moving forward just remember to beware of the kind of food you have especially if it’s a carbohydrate or protein rich item they have a higher risk of contamination and can cause your food to become acidic which causes illness as well. Also too much time out being exposed to oxygen is not good for our food as well and it is even worse if it is caught in the temperature danger zone. So we must make sure we store our food properly and remove as much moisture as possible because it has the potential to help double the spread of pathogens. So remember this acronym and always remind yourself and others to keep F.A.T.T.O.M. out the kitchen because meals are best served without a hospital visit.

Peace out get to cooking and hope this helps!


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