Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ways to prevent food borne illnesses at home

Food borne illnesses is common disease that should be treated as early as possible. In America, it is affecting over 48 million people, which means 1 in every 6 people annually. It occurs due to the consumption of contaminated food (with pathogenic bacteria or toxins), raw food and undercooked food. Food borne diseases cure by their own in couple of days but you should take some steps to recover from disease faster as it can turn out to be more serious and can cause death. Not handling and preparing the food properly at home are one of the main causes of foodborne illness. So to prevent food borne illnesses at home you should take proper hygiene and follow proper food handling practices.

Ways to prevent food borne illnesses at home

All the people are at risk of developing food borne illness but kids, infants, older people, pregnant women and people with weak immune system are at higher risk. Vomiting, fever, diarrhea, dehydration and stomach cramping are the symptoms of food borne disease. These symptoms generally start three to thirty-six hours after consuming contaminated food. Food passes through many stages such as super market, refrigerator and even in your hands. It may contaminate at any stage. To keep the food safe for eating, time and temperature are the two important things.

Tips to prevent food borne diseases at home

Wash your hands

Hygiene is very essential thing as it can eliminate 50% food-borne illness. You should wash your hands with warm water and soap before cooking foods and after touching seafood, raw meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables as well as after going to the bathroom, changing diapers & touching pets. While washing your hands, rub soapy hands together for 20 secs as well as under the fingernails and between the fingers. Then rinse the hands and dry them with a disposable/clean towel.

Keep Clean

Keep food preparation utensils, cutting boards, knives and surfaces clean and disinfected by cleaning them with antibacterial soap & warm water. You should use separate cutting boards for raw meat and vegetables as well as never place cooked meat on the same place where you kept raw meat. Change your dishcloths and sponges every few days. Don’t wash your hands in the kitchen sink and scrub the sink after rinsing off food.

Wash fruits and vegetables

Before cutting, eating or cooking unpackaged fruits and vegetables, you should wash them thoroughly under running tap water or with water and white vinegar mixture to discard germs. Melons and cucumbers can be scrubbed for cleaning as they are firm produce. After washing, wipe fruits and vegetables with a paper towel.

Cook the Food Properly

Raw and half cooked food might have germs or other contaminants so, to kill them cook your food well. You should cook poultry at 165°F, ground meats/ raw ham/ egg casseroles at 160°F, ground beef and pork at 155°F and beef cuts/ steak/roasts at 145°F. The best way to make sure that food is cooked thoroughly is by using a food thermometer. Always reheat leftovers at 165°F before serving to prevent food borne diseases. Never consume unboiled milk and unpasteurized dairy products.

Keep Foods Separate

You should keep raw meats and other groceries/ready-to-eat foods separately so that bacteria don’t spread from one food to another. Keep raw meat, fish and chicken at the bottom shelf below ready-to-eat foods in your refrigerator by putting them in bags to avoid dripping of juice onto other foods. Your refrigerator temperature must be below 40°F and the freezer at 0° F.

Eat Fresh Home Cooked Food

Don’t eat food from road side canteens/eateries. They might have used unclean water to cook food. So always consume freshly home cooked food. Avoid consuming food where foods are kept at room temperature for longer period of time. Before cooking ready-to-eat food, check expiry date.

Video of How to Avoid Food Borne Illness from youtube:


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