There is a saying in English that goes “Food cooked with passion, and served with love, tastes divine.” Even today, this is still true! Food enthusiasts (like yourself) know that the soul of every good recipe lies in the perfect blend of spices, fresh ingredients and natural ingredients. We can sometimes overlook a more important ingredient when we are cooking. This ingredient is often the one that ruins our recipe. I am talking about hygiene and food safety. It is important to maintain a high level of food safety and hygiene at home and in the kitchen.
Food contamination may occur at any point, whether it is during harvesting or processing, preparation, storage, or transportation. Foodborne diseases are more common in places with poor hygiene standards. World Health Organization released data that shows every year almost one in ten people fall ill due to foodborne disease. These diseases can cause death, especially in children.
While handling food, you should follow a few simple rules:
Separate: Avoid cross-contamination.
Cook: Cook to the correct temperature.
Clean: Wash hands, surfaces and other objects often.
Before handling food, it is important to thoroughly wash your hands with soap. This prevents germs from being transferred from your hands onto the food. All vegetables and fruits must be washed under cold water prior to use. Food contamination can occur on kitchen surfaces and countertops. These places, along with any equipment used to prepare the food, should be thoroughly sanitized.
When you are sick, or have the flu or cold, you must not cook and handle food. When someone is experiencing diarrhea, nausea, or jaundice symptoms, they should not be at work. It is important to restrict food preparation and serving if someone has a sore or fevery throat. This could potentially cause disease in the people who eat the food that their establishments serve. Martin Bucknavage says, “Foodborne Pathogens such Noroviruses, Hepatitis-A and Shigella can be spread by sick workers via food to restaurant customers.” These recommendations aren’t just for foodservice establishments or retail food outlets, but also for people that cook for their own families or those who work in elder-care or child-care facilities. Hand sanitizers are recommended for all age ranges.
Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate.
Keep raw and prepared foods separate to prevent cross contamination. Food should always be stored in covered containers. Put raw meats, poultry and fish at the bottom shelf of the fridge to avoid cross contamination. Do not put cooked food on the same plate that the raw meat was originally on.
Cook: Cook to a temperature that is right for you.
You must cook poultry, seafood and other meats with care if you want to eat them. They should be cooked to the right temperature and thoroughly before eating. To confirm, insert the skewer at the center of the piece of meat and make sure that it is not pink. The juices need to be clear. These are the signs that meat is well-cooked. Raw meat can cause food poisoning.
In the last few decades, microwaves have become a common tool in our kitchens for cooking and reheating food. You can cover the food with a food wrapping paper to prevent it from drying during reheating. As the food is being reheated, it should be steaming and piping hot. This eliminates the risk of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens.
If you’re storing your raw food inside the fridge, wrap it in a food-wrapping paper that will absorb moisture and stop juices from dripping. Store it at temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius. You can help protect your family at home against food poisoning. Cold temperatures can slow the growth and spread of bacteria that can cause illness. It’s crucial to chill food as soon as possible. Refrigerate perishable items within two-hours.
Healthy eating habits and good hygiene can help you avoid many foodborne diseases. It is important to incorporate these habits into your daily life, and teach them to your kids. It’s small changes that make a big impact on your holistic health.