HLWDK Daily Health Tips: World Food Safety Day 2020

Today is World Food Safety Day. Below I share one of my favourite posts on food hygiene.

Are you aware of the different ways in which your food could become unsafe? Food hygiene is coming more and more under the radar because of increasing cases of food poisoning and issues experienced in keeping the integrity of the food chain even in very developed countries. Here are five issues you need to know about food hygiene.

• Eggs. These are at the root of more than 30 percent of food poisoning cases. So get your children to stay off them. If you’ve got children like mine, it may not be as easy as it sounds especially when you’ve mixed up a batch of cakes and are trying to convince them that the batter they desperately want to lick off the bowl is not healthy! Ensure that egg dishes eg French toasts (when you choose to indulge), custards etc are well cooked with no hint of raw eggs. The risk of salmonella infection is ever so real.

• Chicken. Poultry usually harbours the salmonella infection but because this meat is usually cooked before eating, it may not be a problem. However, cross contamination by using the same chopping board or work surface used to prepare chicken to prepare other foods could lead to a salmonella infection. This is also the case if the chicken is stored in the fridge in direct contact with other foods. Use different work surfaces for raw meats and other foods and please separate from other foods when storing in the freezer.

• Raw or slightly cooked fish. Worms in raw fish can survive in the intestines of man and cause infections. Thus fish has to be properly cooked. All you sushi lovers please pay attention. Appropriate cooking methods include grilling and poaching. You know that way most people fry their fish until it sounds and feels like plantain chips when you’re eating it? Well, that certainly will destroy any worm in the fish but is not healthy for you. Sounds like you can’t win, yeah?

• Raw or partially cooked meat. Provided meat is not minced, any surface contamination of the meat is easily eliminated by cooking. However, minced meat requires that the meat be cooked thoroughly all the way through. Lovers of tartar which are raw meat dishes should be especially wary. Wooden chopping boards are discouraged as cuts on them form rich reservoirs for germs.

• Fruits and vegetables are not common sources of food contamination but could get contaminated if prepared on a contaminated surface or if not in optimal quality when eaten. So be careful

The World Health Organization has a very handy 5 keys to safer food that sums all of this up:

Keep your hands clean. Remember that even hands that look clean, could very have germs on them: wash them after using the toilet, playing with pets, before food preparation etc

Separate raw and cooked foods so that you don’t transfer germs from foods like meat to other foods. Start off this separation when grocery shopping and pack these items differently, have different chopping boards for meats, veggies etc

Cook foods properly and reheat (warm) foods that have been cooked earlier, thoroughly. This ensures that any germs, present are destroyed by the heat involved.

Keep food at safe temperatures. Germs can comfortably grow in foods stored at room temperature. Refrigerating them slows down the multiplication of these germs and in some cases may stop the growth completely: cooked food should be piping hot, Frozen foods should be thawed in the refrigerator and not room temperature, cooked foods should not be stored at room temperature for longer than 2 hours etc

Finally, use safe water and produce.

So please make sure that you obey the cardinal rules of hygiene in the kitchen as in every other part of your life. This message is even more important today with COVID-19. Stay safe people

Have a good evening, y’all 😀

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