We often hear the cases of food poisoning and health issues which can be attributed to the food we consume. Many of them arise out of seemingly healthy food. Despite precautions there are often some gaps remaining which can cause several health issues.
How can you make your food safer?
Here are some steps!
- Keep Clean
Wash your hands before handling food and often during food preparation
Wash your hands after going to toilet
Wash and sanitize all surfaces and equipment used for food preparation Protect kitchen areas and food from insects, pests and other animals
While most micro organisms do not cause disease, dangerous micro organisms are widely found in soil, water, animals and people. These micro organisms are carried on hands, wiping cloths and utensils, especially cutting boards and the slightest contact can transfer them to food and cause food borne diseases.
2.Separate raw and cooked food
Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods
Use separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cutting boards for handling raw foods
Store food in containers to avoid contact between raw and prepared foods
Raw food, especially meat, poultry and seafood and their juices, can contain dangerous micro organisms which may be transferred onto other foods during food preparation and storage.
3. Cook thoroughly
Cook food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, eggs and seafood
Bring foods like soups and stews to boiling to make sure that they have reached 70’C. For meat and poultry, make sure that juices are clear, not pink, ideally, use a thermometer.
Proper cooking kills almost all dangerous micro organisms. Studies have shown that cooking food to a temperature of 70’C can help ensure it is safe for consumption. Foods that require special attention include minces meats, rolled roasts, large joints of meat and whole poultry.
4. Keep food at safe temperatures
Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Refrigerate promptly all cooked and perishable food (preferably below 5’C)
Keep cooked food piping hot (more than 60’C) prior to serving
Do not store food too long even in the refrigerator
Do not thaw frozen food at room temperature.
Micro-organisms can multiply very quickly if food is stored at room temperature. By holding at temperature below 5’C or above 60’C, the growth of micro-organisms is slowed down or stopped. Some dangerous microorganisms still grow below 50C.
5. Use safe water and raw materials
Use safe water or treat it to make it safe
Select fresh and wholesome foods
Choose foods processed for safety, such as pasteurised milk
Wash fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw
Do not use food beyond its expiry date.
Raw materials, including water and ice, may be contaminated with dangerous micro organisms and chemicals. Toxic chemicals may be formed in damaged and mouldy foods.
Care in selection of raw materials and simple measures such as washing and peeling may reduce the risk.
Stay healthy with eKincare – your personal health manager!
Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.