9 FOOD SAFETY MEASURES TO PREVENT FOOD POISONING

FOOD POISONING
FOOD POISONING
Food poisoning can be unpredictable, but there are easy food safety steps you can take to ensure that you and your family's tummy are safe. Consumption of unhealthy food contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites and foods containing chemical or natural toxins like poisonous mushrooms can result in food-borne diseases.

 In the United States, on an average, 76 million cases of food poisoning and 5,000 associated deaths occur each year. People with otherwise weakened immune systems like the elderly, the children, and pregnant women tend to be most vulnerable.

9 FOOD SAFETY MEASURES TO PREVENT FOOD POISONING

Here are 9 preventive measures that will help you fight foodborne illnesses and stop food poisoning.

1.      FOOD SAFETY WHEN SHOPPING

Start shopping wisely. You must keep in mind a few things while shopping for your daily food items. Start following food safety measures at the grocery store.
v  Buy the frozen and refrigerated products last; this will keep the perishable products cold for a longer time.
v  Put the raw meat in separate a bag from other foods and store them properly immediately after bringing them home.
v  Be carefully while choosing foods. Poor storage and packaging can affect the quality and safety of some food.
v  Do not buy food package with broken seal or dent, swollen or leaking cans or containers.
v   Check the packaging dates.  Do not buy outdated food packets.
Check that if the foods advised to be kept chilled or frozen have been left out of the refrigerator or freezer.

2.      WASH, WASH, WASH

wash for Food Poisoning
You need to wash all the food products you bring home, even if you are going to peel them before you eat. Though washing does not always eliminate your risk as the pathogens can get inside. Always before cooking or cleaning carefully, wash your hands. Once again wash hands after touching raw meat to avoid contamination. Do not get over scared with contaminated products, because by doing so you may compromise the nutrition value of foods like spinach, tomatoes.

3.      SEPARATE RAW FROM READY

FOOD POISONING

§  Avoid putting cooked meat or fish back onto the same dish or container that held the raw meat, until you are sure that the container is washed.
§  It is better to use a different set of utensils and cutting boards for assembling ready-to-eat dishes and for preparing raw meats and fish. This will check spreading of foodborne bacteria due to cross-contamination.
§  It is good to wash the sink after using it to clean raw meats.
§  Thoroughly clean, all utensils and dishes if they have been exposed to raw meat, poultry, fish, or eggs.
§  Never thaw frozen food on warm water, as doing so the outermost layer gets warm too quickly, promoting bacteria growth.

4.      AVOID RAW EGGS

Egg for FOOD POISONING
One of the most common causes of food poisoning is eggs. Since 1990, eggs have been linked to 352 cases of food poisoning outbreaks due to the presence of salmonella bacteria. Do not buy cracked or dirty eggs. The chance of eating a raw egg is extremely rare, but it sometimes happens that you are consuming it unintentionally without your knowing it. You consume raw egg when you taking a nibble of raw cookie dough or licking the same spoon used to stir the cake batter and this can be hazardous.



5.      KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE TEMPERATURE

v  While cooking raw meat do not trust what you looks like, as it could be deceiving. It is better to check the internal temperature of all meats with a food thermometer instead of trusting a browned chicken breast. Keep a kitchen thermometer in your reach when cooking. The temperature of chicken and turkey should reach 165˚F; steaks, 145˚F; and hamburgers, 160˚F to make it safe to eat without food poisoning. The optimum temperature for bacteria to incubate and multiply the fastest is between 40˚ and 140˚F, so make sure that cold food remains cold and that cooked food is hot enough to kill these pathogens.
v  Put the Leftovers or perishable food in your refrigerator within 2 hours. Freeze your food at a temperature below 40˚F, and when reheat cooked leftover food until it reaches at least 165˚F. To keep you and your family safe from food poisoning due to any bacterial growth reheat the cooked food to steaming to ensure any pathogen that may have multiplied, gets killed. Never eat fish, meat, and poultry that have been frozen uncooked for more than 1 to 2 days.

6.      WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT

FOOD POISONING
Leftover foods are one of the major sources of food poisoning. Leftovers food may still be a source of toxin due to foodborne bacteria even if you have proper care during purchasing, cleaned it thoroughly, and cooked everything properly. 
Using the “2-2-4” rule of thumb recommended in this case:
·        Do not leave the food out in open for more than 2 hours;
·        Use containers less than 2 inches deep while freezing your food; and
·        Try to consume all your refrigerated leftover foods before 4 days, and don’t eat thereafter.
·        Do not risk your health eating food that you doubt. Contaminated food may not smell or look bad, but if you suspect that food was left in open for too long, there is change of contamination through flies or insects, or has been in the fridge for longer than 4 days, just throw it out and don’t even taste it.

7.      BE EXTRA CAREFUL WHEN PREGNANT

Pregnant
Food safety becomes even more important when you are pregnant and eating for two (you and your baby), this is because the immune system gets weakened naturally during pregnancy. Infections that seem mild and mostly ignored in pregnant women can be fatal to an unborn baby. Listeriosis is an infectious food poisoning caused by eating foods contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. 1600 people are reported to be infected with listeriosis each year, and about 260 of them lead to death. The infection in pregnant women can lead to miscarriage, premature delivery, a serious infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth. A listeria bacterium generally found in soil, water, and animals, including poultry and cattle. Raw milk and foods made from raw milk can also be contaminated with these bacteria. Listeria also thrives in food processing plants and contaminates soft cheeses, deli meats and other varieties of processed meats. Listeria causes easy to overlook mild symptoms in pregnant women, but if ignored and left untreated, it can develop severe fetal abnormalities or even miscarriage.
Pregnant women should be much more careful to avoid food poisoning and follow all the stated food-preparation and storage measures. Further pregnant women avoid eating soft cheese and processed meat.




8.      FOOD SAFETY FOR YOUR KIDS

v  Teach your children make a habit to wash their hands thoroughly and especially before eating food, after using the bathroom, and after touching raw food. Use soap and warm water and scrub for at least 15 seconds.
v  Never feed honey to children less than 12 months old. Honey may contain spores of Clostridium botulinum, which may result in botulism poisoning.
v  If you are a mother and take care of young children, make a habit of washing your hands. Dispose of the diapers carefully so that spread of bacteria never occurs.

9.      DINE OUT WITH CAUTION

Dine out FOOD POISONING
Most of the case of food poisoning found to occur when we travel or eat outside.
§  Try to eat only hot or freshly cooked food while traveling or dining out. Avoid those dishes that contain raw vegetables or unpeeled fruit.
§  Carry drinking water with yourself or buy a sealed pack of pretreated water.
§  Do not eat wild mushrooms while dining out or at home.
§  All restaurants require displaying health inspection information in their front windows so that before a consumer even enters the restaurant they can make sure food safety is given a priority by the restaurant. Be your own inspector when food safety is not easily available in the locality you live. The cleanness and hygienic condition of the kitchen can be probably ascertained by checking the restroom if the bathroom is filthy. Also, note the cleanliness of the staff, inform the manager. Keep a note if the dishes served are properly washed and clean.
§  Avoid ordering meat and dairy products when you are dining out.     


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