We’ve compiled this Food Safety page to provide as much information as possible to Lufa Farms subscribers on how to exercise skill, care, and judgment in safely handling food products. Please read ahead for information about returns and for food safety tips from Health Canada.
Please be aware that we do sell products containing nuts, soy, and other allergens, and all customer orders are assembled in a common area. While we work to keep information as up-to-date as possible for each product on the Marketplace and consult with partners regularly about their food processing practices, individuals with severe sensitivity to trace amounts of any allergens should be advised that we cannot guarantee a complete absence of such allergens.
It is very important that you pick up your basket on the same day as delivery. Many of our pick-up points don’t have refrigeration capabilities, so your products will not keep overnight. If any refrigerated items are warm, damaged, or leaking when you pick them up, or if you have any doubt about the safety of the products, call us at 514-669-3559 or email us at email@example.com right away and we’ll issue you a full refund as long as you let us know the day of your delivery.
Recommendations from Health Canada
Please consult the guidelines below from Health Canada for safe handling and storage, and always err on the conservative side. We’ve selected some excerpts that will be most relevant to Lufa Farms subscribers, but you can also use the links to click through and read the full pages on Health Canada.
- Durable life: This indicates the anticipated amount of time an unopened food product will keep its freshness, taste, nutritional value and other qualities when stored under appropriate conditions. A "best before" date tells you when the "durable life" period ends.
- Best before date: The "best before" date does not guarantee product safety, but it does give you information about the freshness and potential shelf-life of the unopened food you are buying. This must appear on pre-packaged foods that will keep fresh for 90 days or less. Retail-packaged foods may be labelled with either a "best before" date and storage instructions, or the date packaged, along with a "best before" date and storage instructions.
- Use by date: This may appear instead of "best before" on pre-packaged fresh yeast only.
Expiration date: This must appear on formulated liquid diets, foods for use in a very low-energy diet, meal replacements, nutritional supplements and infant formulas. After the expiration date, the food may not have the same nutrient content declared on the label. If the expiration date has passed, throw away the food.
- Cook: Always cook food to the safe internal temperature. You can check this by using a digital food thermometer
- Clean: Wash you hands and surfaces often with warm, soapy water.
- Chill: Always refrigerate food and leftovers promptly at 4ºC or below.
- Separate: Make sure to always separate your raw foods, such as meat and eggs, from cooked foods and vegetables.
- Learn More:
Read labels carefully:
- Make sure you take the time to read product labels very carefully.
- Manufacturers sometimes change the ingredients used in familiar products, and different varieties and sizes of the same brand may contain different ingredients, so check the label every time you shop.
- It is important to remember that although the new allergen labelling regulations are on their way, they do not come into effect until August 2012, so you should continue to follow current practices for avoiding allergens until the improved food labelling is in place.
- It is important to consume only products with a list of ingredients and avoid bins of bulk food where ingredients lists may not be available and where there may be a risk of cross-contamination between bins.
- Until the regulations come into effect, mustard is allowed to be present as part of a spice or seasoning mixture, or other ingredient that is exempt from component declaration, without being specifically identified in the ingredient list. Consumers with a mustard allergy will need to be careful to avoid products that declare spices or seasoning in their list of ingredient, or to check with the manufacturer to find out if there is mustard in the product.
Watch out for cross contamination:
- Cross-contamination occurs when an allergen is unintentionally transferred to a food product that doesn't normally contain that allergen.
- Look for precautionary statements like "may contain X" (where "X" is the name by which the allergen is commonly known). Such statements are usually related to possible cross-contamination.
- Precautionary statements indicate that foods could have been unintentionally exposed to an allergen some time during the manufacturing process and aren't safe to eat for those with food allergies.
Don’t take chances:
- Avoid food products that contain the specific allergens and/or derivatives of the specific allergens that you are allergic to.
- Avoid food products that bear a precautionary statement naming an allergen that you are allergic to.
- Avoid food products that don't list their ingredients or food products that contain an ingredient that you don't recognize.
- When someone else is preparing food for you, whether at a restaurant or a friend's home, make sure they know about your food allergy, so they can take steps to avoid cross-contamination and alert you to any ingredients of concern.
- Even if a dish doesn't contain the food to which you are allergic, it still might have been in contact with it through utensils and cooking pans. When in doubt, don't eat it.
Look out for allergens listed by other names:
- Food allergens and their derivatives are sometimes found in food under different names.
The Government of Canada has developed a series of pamphlets with information on each of the priority food allergens, including lists of other names for each allergen, food and products that may contain them and non-food sources of that allergen.
- Buy cold or frozen food at the end of your shopping trip.
- Check the "best before" date on your food.
- Keep your raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood away from other food in your grocery cart.
- Examine fruits and vegetables carefully and avoid buying items that are bruised or damaged.
- If you use reusable grocery bags or bins, make sure to use a specific bag or bin for meat, poultry or seafood. Label the bag or bin with the type of food it carries.
It is extremely important to keep cold food cold and hot food hot, so that your food never reaches the "temperature danger zone". This is where bacteria can grow quickly and cause food related illness.
- Keep your raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood cold. Refrigerate or freeze them as soon as you get home from the grocery store.
- Refrigerate fresh fruits and vegetables that need refrigeration when you get home. This includes all pre-cut and ready-to-eat produce.
- Make sure your refrigerator is set at 4 °C (40 °F) or lower and your freezer at -18 °C (0 °F) or lower. This will keep your food out of the temperature danger zone between 4 °C (40 °F) to 60 °C (140 °F) where bacteria can grow quickly.
- Keep your raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood separate from other food in the refrigerator at home. Do this by storing them in different containers.
- Place raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood in sealed containers or plastic bags on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator so raw juices won't drip onto other food.
Fridge and freezer storage:
A table of recommendation times can be found at this page. recommended refrigeration times are for safety, and the freezing times are for quality. If you store properly wrapped food in your freezer the quality may be maintained for longer periods of time.
Learn More About Specific Products
Dairy, Eggs, Poultry & Meats