Food hygiene and safety are essential to avoid contamination that leads to foodborne illness. Food hygiene is considered as the foundation of healthy eating. Children, pregnant women, and older adults are more prone to foodborne illness and their immune system is not built up so strong to fight the infections, therefore proper care must be taken to avoid contamination.
One must read these points while preparing, cooking, or storing foods to prevent foodborne illness.
Cleaning of food-
Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food; before eating; and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, tending to a sick person, blowing your nose, sneezing, coughing and handling pets. You should also wash your hands after touching surfaces that are frequently used, like door knobs and handles, light switches, phones and keyboards.
Wondering how to ensure your fruits and vegetables are completely clean and ready for consumption. Rinsing with water is not enough. Surely, soap is not a solution; you need something natural that can be used on the produce directly. A product formulated with 100% naturally derived ingredients, Marico’s Veggie Clean is Certified by Indian & International bodies such as SC Australia as safe & toxic-free. It is scientifically proven and quite effective to remove harmful bacteria, chemicals and waxes.
Preparation of food
- Before starting the cooking process makes sure the hands are washed and cleaned properly, the counters and the utensils are all cleaned and sanitized.
- It should be ensured that hair is tied back properly and nails are cut or covered properly to avoid contamination.
- When preparing meat, fish, eggs- wash the hands with warm water before and after handling the food. Use separate chopping boards to avoid contamination.
- While handling fruits and vegetables, wash them thoroughly as they already have a natural protective coating. They should be washed under running water and detergents or soaps should not be used as they can leave an aftertaste and they do not kill bacteria.
- Fruits that have rind such as oranges, mangoes, cantaloupes must be washed before consumption with a soft, clean brush under running water as it prevents bacteria from going into the food.
- Wear gloves while working and avoid wearing any type of jewellery.
The cooking of food
- Always remember to keep separate chopping boards and knives for chicken and vegetables/ fruits or wash them each time before use to avoid cross-contamination.
- Make sure to defrost the chicken properly and cover it properly.
- Do not keep the spoons or other utensils used while cooking directly on the counter as it’s unsafe.
- In the case of eggs, make sure they are clean and do not contain cracks before cooking.
- Always cook the food items at the right temperatures as raw or undercooked food becomes more prone to contamination.
Serving of food
- Serve the hot food hot and cold food cold, to ensure the temperature use the food thermometer.
- Serve the food in clean plates or bowls and avoid serving on the same plates which have been used by other people to eat.
- Serve the food right away and store the leftover properly.
Storage of food-
- Foods must be stored in a refrigerator as long exposure at room temperature causes spoilage.
- Always use clean containers to store prepared food.
- Milk must be pasteurized and then stored in the refrigerator at the right temperatures to avoid spoilage.
- Similarly, milk products must be refrigerated as they are more prone to contamination and spoilage.
- Store the prepared and raw food separately.
- Keep a check on the temperature danger zone and store the food accordingly.
- Do not keep the chopped or prepared food open without cover, the flies or other insects may contaminate the food and make it unfit for consumption.
Over to you:
Clean and hygienic food that has not lost its nutritional value in any way is safe to eat. One must keep in mind all the pointers to maintain proper food hygiene. Good personal hygiene and a clean workspace prevent foodborne illness. Safe food is healthy food.