Food safety is becoming a major health concern for everyone. It is difficult to find anyone in this world who has not encountered a horrid moment of food borne illness at least once in the past year. Yes, it’s that common as per World Health Organisation! As the saying goes ‘You Are What You Eat’ – to be healthy and fit you need to make healthy choices in your diet.
Food borne illnesses may result from the consumption of food contaminated by microbial pathogens, toxic chemicals or radioactive materials. While many food borne diseases may be self-limiting, some can be very serious if you do not seek medical assistance and in severe cases, it even result in death. As our food supply becomes increasingly globalized, the need to strengthen food safety systems in and between all countries is becoming more and more evident.
Why is Food Hygiene Important for our Health?
- We can easily become ill from the food that we consume as it may contain bacteria, viruses or parasites which can lead to food poisoning.
- Food poisoning can be very serious for infants, children, elderly and pregnant women as they have a weaker immune system.
- Food hygiene can often go undetected as you can never assess the contamination of that specific food by just looking, smelling or even tasting it.
- In worst case scenario, food poisoning can lead to gastroenteritis, dehydration and kidney failure.
Food borne illness cause one or more of the following signs and symptoms:
- Watery diarrhea
- Abdominal pain and cramps
Fever and/or the presence of blood or mucus in the stool are signs of bacterial infection that may require a medical consultation.
4 Major Elements Impacting Food Safety
1. Cleaning Food
- Always wash your hands with soap and water before you touch food for preparation. Your hands contain millions of bacteria which can be very harmful. Make sure you dry your hands with a towel before you begin.
- Remove all jewellery from your hands as they can also contain bacteria which can enter the food.
- Kitchen towels and napkins need to be cleaned on a daily basis as they can harbour bacteria especially when they are damp.
- Clean your work surface and utensils properly. Food spills are to be removed immediately.
2. Storing Food
- Most food labels explain storage conditions, hence make sure you read the packet carefully for those instructions.
- Always cover your food in the fridge or transfer it to an airtight container.
- Wash your vegetables before placing them in the fridge. This removes all types of dirt, bacteria and parasites which are present on the surface of these vegetables.
- If you have leftover food in your fridge, then consume it within 2 days as it can increase risk of food poisoning.
3. Preparing Food
- Use safe filtered drinking water for food preparation.
- Check use-by dates and labels while buying packed food.
- Thoroughly cook all the food especially seafood, meat and poultry.
- Eat food before the use-by date as expired food might not be safe to eat and the.
- Clean your chopping food after using it with soap and water.
4. Cooking Food
- Cook food over 70° C for at least two minutes as this will kill any bacteria in food. Bacteria can survive cooler temperatures than this, so it’s vital to cook food properly.
- Keep raw food separately from cooked ones. Never mix raw food with cooked.
- Reheat food only once, hot steam should be visible.
To conclude, Food safety and hygiene should be maintained thoroughly in your household, this will aid better health for your entire family. The more healthy you eat are the happier you will be. Keep following Be. The Solution for valuable hygiene tips for all!