Food is essential for a healthy life, but it can also bring some risks if not handled correctly. The World Health Organization estimates that foodborne diseases affect around 600 million people worldwide each year. It’s easy to prevent these diseases by following basic safe food handling practices.
Why is Safe Food Handling Important?
Safe food handling practices prevent the spread of harmful bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants that can cause food poisoning. These contaminants can come from different sources like soil, water, air, animals or humans who handle them during production.
When we consume contaminated food, our digestive system cannot fight off the infection which may lead to various symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. In severe cases it might require hospitalisation and can even be fatal in immune-compromised individuals like elderly people or infants.
Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
The first step towards ensuring safe food handling standards is maintaining hygiene in your kitchen and surroundings. The WHO recommends the “five keys” to safer food preparation:
- Keep everything clean – Wash hands regularly with soap before preparing & serving meals.
- Separate raw & cooked foods – Avoid contamination of cooked foods by raw items
- Cook thoroughly – Cook meats at high temperatures until they are no longer pink
- Keep temperature conditions well-maintained – Cold-storage under 5 degree Celsius
- Use safe water & raw materials
Teaching children about these Five Keys helps develop their sanitation habits for life.
Storing Food Safely
It’s important to properly store meat or poultry so you avoid any dangerous bacteria growth. Here are a few methods:
Store perishable products in refrigerator at below 40°F/4°C. . Ensure all refrigerated products maintain an internal temp below this level. .
Meat that you are going to use beyond the sell by date can be cooked or frozen so that it does not impart any harmful effects on people’s health.
Proper cover and tight wrapping will protect food from cross-contamination. It also helps preserve flavor, retain moisture, increase self-life.
What is Cross-Contamination?
Cross-contamination is the transfer of bacteria & viruses from one food to another when exposed together during cooking or storage. This occurs mainly due to wrong handling steps in several areas like:
Handling Raw meat poultry fish eggs etc.
When we handle raw animal products specially one’s high in nutrition value which as mentioned above attract microbes because a lot of them harbor in hosts’ organs; so avoid using their plates, utensils or knives for prepping up other meal parts and dishes even though they might seem clean.
Food Preparation Surfaces
It could happen if someone may have used an unwashed surface recently before contamination by another person for preparation of fruit salads, sandwiches or cut veggies where these contaminated utensils were then used again on these non-meat items.
Improper Washing Systematization
An inefficient washing process is another reason of spreading this menace – many people who tend not wash their hands thoroughly enough after they touch all sorts of objects before coming into contact with fresh produce subsequently transmitting over germs derived via dangerous bacteria: E coli Salmonella Shigella Campylobacter Norovirus
Don’t Leave Your Produce Off Guard
Fruits & vegetables innocently look appealing but we still need to give them special attention since they are most likely prone towards contamination:
- Always wash fruits & veggies properly under running water
- Use vegetable brushes during cleaning.
- Deep-freeze certain fruits/veggies for longer shelf life
- Store ready-to-eat produce in fridge below 5 degree Celsius.
- Look for sell-by date on dairy products and delicatessen meats.
Common Questions Answered
Q: Is it necessary to wash herbs like parsley, cilantro or thyme?
A: Yes, it’s essential to Wash herbs before using them even if they may come prepackaged. Rinse well under running water and keep its stem end wet as this isn’t stored in utensil surfaces repeatedly; alternatively take a drinking glass with deep base-fill it up high enough where you can easily place the herb upside down into it such that the stem remains submerged whilst being held beneath & swirled around periodically so grains of clay/dirt or other microbes sticking onto leaves could be washed away until water becomes clear.
Q: Can food poisoning occur from eating leftovers?
A: The truth is that even those leftovers we find pleasing – weeks-old pizza that’s been out too long – might lead us towards unexpected food illnesses but however reheating your existing past-food items will decrease their microbial growth as long as used within time . It’s advisable not to consume any expired dairy products, meat or poultry beyond a couple of days and confirm proper reheating measures such don’t attribute oxygen-content risks during microwaving allowing microwave cooked meals breathing-space to cool off sufficiently thus reducing internal condensation when removing seal/film wrapping from them after heating.
Stay Safe by Following Simple Guidelines
Safe handling practices are not hard if one applies a bit of information regarding best practices. In conclusion:
- Maintain cleanliness standards
- Store food properly
- Watch out for cross-contamination across all kitchenware
- Take extra care while handling berries or fresh fruits/veggies.
- Check expiry dates mentioned labels and use refrigeration/freezing techniques at home when required.
As one eats healthier their mind tends toward healthier channels of thinking and more productive emotions.