By: Dr Homesh Choudhary (Assistant Professor) MVM College of Pharmacy.
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant or animal origin and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. Food is the basic need of living beings and we get it on a daily basis.
But the question arises that what to eat when to eat and how to eat? As we all know that we get our food from many resources which give a tough challenge to get fresh food without parasite, bacteria, or viruses.
There are five keys to safer food.
- Keep Clean
- Separate raw and cooked
- Cook thoroughly
- Keep food at the same temperature
- Use safe water and raw material
- Wash your hands before handling food and often during food preparation.
- Wash your hands after going to the toilet.
- Wash and sanitize all surface and equipment used for food preparation.
- Protect kitchen areas and food from insects, pests and other animals.
While most microorganisms do not cause disease, dangerous microorganisms are widely found in soil, water animal and people. These microorganisms are carried on hands, wiping cloths, and utensils, especially cutting board, and slightest contact can transfer them to food and cause foodborne disease.
Separate raw and cooked
- Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods.
- Use separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cutting boards to handling raw food.
- Store food in a container to avoid contact between raw and prepared food.
Raw food especially meat, poultry and seafood and their juice can contain dangerous microorganisms which may be transferred onto other foods during food preparation and storage.
- Cook food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, eggs and seafood.
- Bring food like soups stews to boiling to make sure that they have reached 70 degree Celsius. For meat and poultry, make sure that juices are clear, not pink. Ideally use a thermometer.
- Reheat cooked food thoroughly.
Proper cooking kills almost all dangerous microorganisms. Studies have shown that cooking food to a temperature of 70 degree Celsius can help ensure it is safe for consumption. Foods that require special attention include minced meat, rolled roasts, large joint of meat and whole poultry.
Keep food at a safe temperature
- Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Refrigerate promptly all cooked and perishable food (preferably below 5 degrees C).
- Keep cooked food piping hot (more than 60 degrees C) prior to serving.
- Do not store food too long even in the refrigerator.
- Do not thaw frozen food at room temperature.
Microorganisms can multiply very quickly if food is stored at room temperature. By holding temperature below 5 degree Celsius or above 60 degree Celsius, the growth of microorganisms is slowed down or stopped. Some dangerous microorganisms still grow below 5 degree Celsius.
Use safe water and raw materials
- Use safe water and treat it to make it safe.
- Select fresh and wholesome foods.
- Choose foods processed for safety, such as pasteurized milk.
- Wash fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw.
- Do not use food beyond its expiry date.
Raw materials including water and ice may be contaminated with dangerous microorganisms and chemicals. Toxic chemicals may be formed in damaged and mouldy foods. Care is a selection of raw materials and simple measures such as washing and peeling may reduce the risk.
We Believe in Knowledge = Prevention.