Tuesday, July 30, 2013

5 simple ways to prevent food poisoning

Different individuals have different level of tolerance to food contamination. For example, while having lunch together, your colleague may get food poisoning while you feel perfectly okay. I've suffered from the worst case of food poisoning in the past.

Cook-it-yourself Japanese foods at Suria Sabah, K.Kinabalu

We are not going to discuss how and why some people are more at risk of getting food poisoning while others don't. Our purpose of sharing this is to prevent as much as possible, food poisoning.

Why do we get food poisoning

With Malaysia being a heaven for good food ( and I really mean it), we are prone to suffer from the occasional effects of food contamination. The cause is food-borne microbes, or their toxins, that are present in the food you eat, which can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal cramps and fever.

We are as likely to get ill from food prepared at home as the ones we eat outside. Unfortunately, there isn't a way to spot bacteria on food but we can take some simple steps to prevent or reduce incidences of food poisoning. Here are five simple ways that can be done by anyone:-

1. Wash your hands thoroughly

Keep your hands as clean as possible when handling food. Cross contamination can happen when the cooked food that you are handling comes into contact with raw meat and poultry. Thus, you should wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, most especially when handling raw meat, eggs and seafood.

2. Separate raw meat from ready-to-cook foods

Keep raw meat away from ready-to-cook foods such as salad, fruits and bread. These foods can become contaminated when come into direct contact with raw foods or the drippings from raw foods. If thawing in the fridge, always cover raw meat and store it on the bottom shelf to avoid the said problems.

3. Keep your fridge below 5°C

Foods need to be chilled at the proper temperature to stop the food-borne bacteria and organisms from growing. Any level of temperatures between 4°C and 60°C will encourage them to grow rapidly, so always check that temperature is below 5°C. Do not leave refrigerated foods sitting out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

4. Use different chopping boards for raw food, vegetables and bread

Harmful microbes can easily transfer from raw foods to other foods, most especially when it comes into contact with anything they touch like worktops, plates, knives, utensils and cutting boards. It is recommended that you use separate boards for raw food, vegetables and bread. This will prevent cross contamination from occurring.

5. Cook food thoroughly

The best way to kill off bacteria is to cook food all the way through. Certain foods like poultry, pork, beef and eggs should be cooked completely until steaming hot. Many of the nasty organisms thrive in these foods while raw, so cook meat until it is no longer pink inside, and the egg yolks and whites are firm.

Source: WiseGeek, NHS UK, through Mylaunchpad
Photo by: de engineur

1 comment:

Better Health said...

Thanks for the heads up. You can also visit Food Poisoning Prevention for more readings.