Food poisoning is a serious health problem that could cause illness, even death. This is due to bacteria from foods that have been poorly stored, handled or cooked. Certain people are more at risk from food poisoning, such as pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and those people with illnesses. This article is designed to provide readers with tips on how to prevent food poisoning effectively. Check them out now to start protecting your family’s health better!
How To Prevent Food Poisoning – Don’t Let Your Food Turn Your Enemy
1. Understand What Causes Food Poisoning
First and foremost, in order to learn how to prevent food poisoning, it is essential for you to understand the triggered of food poisoning. In reality, food poisoning is caused by ingesting food or drink which is contaminated with either: gastrointestinal infections of viruses, bacteria, or parasites, or chemicals like insecticides or food toxins including fungi (.e.g.: poisonous mushrooms). Most people refer to food poisoning as covering any of those possible sources
2. Buying Food
- It is critical for you to choose fresh meat, fruits and vegetable as well. Especially, you had better buy food from reliable, hygienic, and reputable sources in order to ensure quality. Also, read and follow the guidelines of storage and pay attention to the date on the food labels when purchasing those pre-packed food.
- Check for cleanliness. If you purchase food from a retailer who follows appropriate food handling process, then you will reduce the risk of food poisoning. By this way, you will need to assure that your food is safe. Just ask yourself some questions such as what is the general impression of this facility? and does it smell and look clean?
- Classify foods. It means that you should keep separate raw meat, seafood, poultry from other foods in the grocery shopping cart. When buying foods, place those foods in the plastic bag in order to avoid their juices dripping on others.
- Inspect jars and cans. It is not good idea for you to purchase food in cans which are bulging or dented. Do not buy the food that is abnormal in appearance. Buying foods in jars which are cracked or get bulging lids is not recommended. In fact, a bulging can or jar might mean that food is under-processed and contaminated.
- Do not buy the frozen and chilled foods which have been left out of the freezer. Just purchase hot foods which are steaming hot.
- Ensure that eggs in cartons identify the supplier; never purchase dirty or cracked eggs. Buy only refrigerated eggs and pay attention to the “safe handling guidelines” on the carton.
3. Preparing And Handling Food
- Before preparing food, wash your hands in warm and soapy water
- Food need to be thoroughly washed before storage or cooking. And, meat and seafood also need to be thoroughly cooked.
- Do not use the same cutting board for unprocessed food for cooked food or served raw foods because this will decrease the opportunity of cross contamination of food.
- It is recommended that foods should be cooked to a temperature of at least 750C.
- You can check the cooking temperature by using a thermometer. Make sure food reaches its safe minimum cooking temperature.
- Food should be eaten right after it is served. Hot food should be consumed while it is still hot. In other words, cold dishes need to be kept in fridge until your consumption.
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4. Storing Food
Here are some fundamental tips for food poisoning prevention:
- Raw and cooked food need to be stored separately in order to avoid cross contamination. You can place cooked food in the upper compartment of your fridge.
- With cooked food, if you do not consume it at once, then you had better keep them above 63oC or below 4oC. Keep in mind that you should not keep food under room temperature in order to avoid bacteria.
- Cover all food with lids, plastic wrap and tin foil.
- Fridge should be cleaned appropriately and regularly. The temperature need to be kept below about 4oC.
- Storing excessive amount of food in the fridge in order to avoid impacting cold air circulation
- If cold food needs to sit out for longer than about 2 hours, make use of a tray of ice (ice bath) under the food for keeping it cold. Try replacing the ice as it melts. Once using the ice bath, try keeping the cold food in the shallow container because this can make it easier to keep all of the food – containing the center — properly chilled.
Reheating leftover and frozen foods to improper temperatures is a main cause of the food poisoning or food borne illness. In many case, this condition occurs when foods are only “warmed up” rather than being heated thoroughly. Always reheat leftover refrigerated foods quickly to about 1650F before hot holding or serving. In case it is liquid, just boil it.
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6. When In Doubt, Just Throw It Out
If you do not ensure that that food is prepared, served, and stored safely, then discard it. The food which is left at room temperature for a long period of time might consist of bacteria or toxins that could not be defeated by cooking. Therefore, do not taste the food that you are not sure about, throw it out. Even if its smells and looks seem fine, it might not be safe for you to eat.
7. Personal Hygiene
- After going to toilet and before handling the food, you need wash the hands with water and soap.
- If you are suffering from diarrhea or vomiting, then you had better not handle or touch any food in order to avoid bacteria poisoning food.
- Before handling the food, you need to bandage your wounds with some waterproof plasters.
- Wash your hand after smoking, eating, blowing nose, and so on
- Do not wipe your hands on cloth towels or apron
- If possible, keep your bare hands away from ready-to-eat foods
- Use the hand sanitizers after your hands washing
8. Environment Hygiene
- Put all food remains and rubbish into a dustbin and cover it up tightly. The dustbin needs to be emptied regularly.
- Clean your kitchen regularly for preventing harboring insects and rats.
9. Wash Dishcloths
You had better wash dishcloths and tea towels frequently and let them dry before using them again. Damp and dirty cloths are the ideal place for accumulating and breeding bacteria.
10. Drinking Beware
If possible, drink only pasteurized juice and cider. Some commercial juices with an extended shelf life which is sold at room temperature are pasteurized, though it is generally not indicated on the label. Juice concentrates are heated sufficiently for killing bacteria.
11. Be Extra Careful When Pregnant
Food safety is critically important with those pregnant women because their immune system is naturally weakening throughout pregnancy process. Infections that seem mild in pregnant women could be deadly to the unborn baby. Listeria which is found in deli meat and soft cheese can cause mild symptoms in pregnant women which are easy to be overlooked. If these symptoms are not treated, they could cause severe fetal abnormalities or miscarriage.
In other words, pregnant women should follow the same food preparation and same measures as most people.
12. Dine Out With Caution
When it comes to learning tips on how to prevent food poisoning, we also need to watch out the risk of food poisoning when dinning out. Before you even enter a certain restaurant, you can make sure that food safety is a priority. By checking out the restroom of that restaurant, you probably assess the kitchen. It seems strange but in some cases, it is right. If the bathroom is filthy, then the kitchen might be.
Not the cleanliness of the staff of that restaurant, just inform the manager if any your dishes served buffet-style are not at the proper temperature, also avoid ordering meats medium rare.
13. Do Not Eat At Your Desk
There is a study which has found that the average desktop has 100 times times much more bacteria than your kitchen table and about 400 times more than an average toilet seat. The reason might be because your toilet as well as kitchen is cleaned more than your workspace. It is estimated that only 36% of people could clean their work areas such as keyboard, desktop, or mouse weekly.
14. Avoid Certain Foods Altogether
Generally, food poisoning is particularly harmful and potentially life-threatening for pregnant women and their fetuses, young children, older adults, or people who are prone to be poisoned due to weakened immune system. They are at the highest risk of health problems related to food poisoning and had better take additional precautions by staying away the foods below:
- Raw or undercooked shellfish or fish, such as clams, oysters, mussels and scallops
- Raw or rare poultry and meat
- Raw sprouts, including bean, alfalfa, clover or radish sprouts
- Unpasteurized ciders and juices
- Soft cheeses, unpasteurized cheese, and blue-veined cheese
- Undercooked or raw eggs or foods which might include them like homemade ice cream and cookie dough
- Unpasteurized milk products
- Uncooked hotdogs, deli meats, and luncheon meats
- Refrigerated pates and meat spreads
All of the above tips on how to prevent food poisoning are collected from experts and nutritionists. So, make sure that you apply them appropriately. By this way, you can protect your health and your family’s health naturally and efficiently.
If you have any further tip or your own personal tips on how to prevent food poisoning, share them with us by leaving comments at the end of this post. We will answer all as soon as possible.