According to World Heath Organisation (WHO) unsafe food is linked to the deaths of an estimated 2 million people annually – including many children. Food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances is responsible for more than 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhea to cancers.
This year on World Heath Day, the new campaign is for food safety. This is a shared responsibility. It is important to work all along the food production chain – from farmers and manufacturers to vendors and consumers.
So here are the five keys to safer food offer practical guidance to vendors and consumers for handling and preparing food as per WHO:
Key 1: Keep it clean
It is always necessary to clean your hands before handling, preparing and cooking food. Wash your hands after using toilet, with a good antiseptic soap. Wash and sanitize all the surfaces and equipment used in preparation of meal. And make sure you are protecting your kitchen areas and food from insects, pests, and other birds and animals. All the things above will let dangerous infectious micro-organisms away from food that are found in soil, water, animals and people. It usually carries through hands, clothes, utensils and animals.
Key 2: Separate raw and cooked food
It is recommended to keep raw and cooked foods separate reduces the risk of cross contamination. Cross contamination is used to describe the transfer of bacteria from sources such as raw meat or poultry, food handlers, animals and refuse to a high risk food, e.g. cooked meat products, dairy products, egg dishes (high protein foods). Hence you must keep separate utensils and containers for raw and cooked food.
Key 3: Cook food thoroughly
Some cooked dishes contain ingredients that may have harmful bacteria. Cooking foods thoroughly will help to destroy these bacteria. It is important to check that meat, chicken, fish or egg dishes are cooked thoroughly. Always eat fresh food and make heat above 70*C while cooking to make safer for consumption. Also keep reheating thoroughly time after time.
Key 4: Keep food at safe temperatures
Never leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours. It is recommended to keep in refrigerator below 5*C promptly all cooked and perishable food as it avoid micro-organisms for further multiply; although some grows normally. But keep in mind storing food too long even in refrigerator is not safe. As we all know serving main course hot makes it tasty but it also it slow down or even stops the growth of micro-organisms. So keep it piping hot more than 60*C before serving it.
Key 5: Use safe water and raw materials
In modern world it become must to have a water purifier at home now. Reverse Osmosis (RO) purifier is one of the best in market as dangerous micro-organism and chemicals in water is getting more common. Besides water, choose foods processed for safety, such as pasteurized milk. Prefer farm fresh wholesome food over canned and supermarket. Toxic chemicals may be formed in damaged and mouldy foods. Always wash and peel before eating it raw. Do not use food beyond its expiry or best before date.