Prevent Foodborne Illness
Every kitchen has the risk of transmitting foodborne illnesses. Know the preventive measures to safeguard against foodborne diseases.
Food contaminated with bacteria produces foodborne diseases. These smart bacteria give no visible signs of their presence. Decomposed food warns us with smells, physical changes and tastes. Silent killers like bacteria, viruses, parasites and environmental contaminants attack maliciously young kids, the aged and weak people who can't fight them.
We can prevent foodborne diseases by keeping our kitchen safe. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Kitchen and food handlers must be squeaky clean. Next, we need safe food handling procedures.
The food handler's hands must be clean. So must be the kitchen work station. The appearance of clean hands is insufficient. Wash with antibacterial soap before handling food. Fingernails must be cleaned. Microscopic organisms harbor beneath long nails. If you have injuries, bandage them to avoid your germ from migrating onto the food. Wear gloves to prevent wetting infectious hands. Wash your food preparation area after each use. Clean your fridge regularly. Machine wash your dish towels often. Replace worn out dish-washing sponges. Don't switch your kitchen rags elsewhere.
Be food conscious. Dairy products have a limited life-span. Be suspicious of sales of milk, cheese and yogurt. Check their expiration dates. Boxed foods that are swollen spell gas-forming-bacteria. Misshapen tins are not cheap nor good buys. Say goodbye to cracked eggs. Dispose food in secured plastic bags to prevent pest scavenging. What's unsafe for humans is also unsafe for pets.
Cross-contamination of foods occur when raw animal produce is in contact with greens. This applies to cooked and uncooked foods. All the cutting boards must be scrubbed thoroughly after each use. Don't cut vegetables after meat; there are bacteria waiting in transit at the board. Better still, keep separate boards for greens and meats. Anything that has had contact with raw meat must be scrubbed with hot soapy water before use again. Wipe off kitchen spills immediately. Drippings from meats are rich in bacteria.
Thawing and marinating meats should be done inside the fridge. Use a microwave if you can't wait. Wash your greens and fruits under running water. If you soak them in a container, the bacteria and dirt are swimming in the same pool of water as your greens and can re-enter them. Scrub roots like carrots, potatoes, etc. It's best to remove skins before cooking. You may be eating soil organisms in the skin.
Food should either be cold or hot; never in-between. Bacteria thrive at temperatures between 4-60 degrees Centigrade. This means you'll have to refrigerate uneaten cooked foods. Perishables like eggs, milk, dairy products, meat and seafood cannot be used after 2 hours at room temperature. This includes infant formula and breastmilk. Refrigerated foods should be stored in covered containers to prevent extra flavorings from drippings or fridge spillage.
Needless to mention, cook your foods thoroughly. Get a meat thermometer. Cooked fish should flake and meats should be well done. Practice safe food handling to keep your kitchen safe from foodborne diseases.