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Five tips to Cultivate Safe Food Handling

Posted by : Ronit Singh on | Apr 25,2014

Spring has long been the time of year for annual cleaning projects around our homes. However, when it comes to safe food handling, everything that comes in contact with food must be kept clean all year long. Food that is mishandled can lead to foodborne illness. Foodborne illness can affect anyone at anytime. A foodborne-illness outbreak can cost an operation lot of money or even result in closure. More important than the monetary costs, though, are the human costs. Victims of foodborne illnesses have been known to experience sickness, lost work, medical costs and long-term disability. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in 2013 that contaminated food caused 297 million (29.7 Crores) illnesses in year in the India. That includes food eaten at home and other places including restaurants.That’s why it’s important to know how to safely handle food. Below are 5 ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones from foodborne illness.1. Wash - Think about how many people have touched that tomato or apple before you ended up taking it home from the grocery store. And, let’s face it, some of those fruits and veggies could’ve even been stored or dropped on the floor at some point. Cleaning fresh fruits and vegetables with organic food washes will help rid them of bacteria, pesticide residues, waxes, surface contaminates and foodborne illnesses.2. Clean The kitchen counter and even your hands can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food, as well as after using the bathroom, changing diapers and/or handling pets. Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with an organic cleaner after preparing any food. Pro tip: Use paper towels instead of dishtowels when cleaning the kitchen. This will prevent bacteria from spreading.3. Separate You can avoid cross-contamination by separating raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other foods in your grocery cart, grocery bags and inside your refrigerator. (Tip: Remember to wash your recyclable grocery bags to keep them germ-free.) Use 1 cutting board for fresh produce and a separate board for your raw meats, poultry and seafood. Grilling out? Never put your grilled meats on a dish that previously held the raw meat. It might be tempting to cut down on the dishes, but you’re saving yourself from foodborne illness. It’s important to also separate food within the fridge. Keep raw meats in containers or sealed plastic bags and eggs in their carton in the main compartment of the fridge – not the door.4. CookProper food handling doesn’t stop at the prep. It’s important to ensure that your foods are cooked safely. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature in several places, and remember that color is not a good indicator of doneness. Ground beef, pork, veal, lamb, turkey and chicken should have an internal temperature of 74 C. Fresh beef, pork, veal and lamb should be 69 C. Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm.5. ChillRefrigeration is important when it comes to food safety. Never over-stuff the refrigerator, as cold air should be able to circulate to keep the foods inside it safe. The refrigerator temperature should be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. And don’t rely on the refrigerator’s built-in thermometer – buy an appliance thermometer to double-check the temperature. Meat, poultry, eggs, seafood and other perishables should be refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours of cooking or purchasing. Lastly, know when to toss foods. Throw out salads and deli luncheon meats after 3 to 5 days and ground meats and fresh poultry after 1 to 2 days. Don’t let your house become a breeding ground for foodborne illnesses. Following the rules above will stop you and your family from suffering the belly-aching realities of foodborne illnesses.