Food contamination doesn’t just lead to wasted groceries. Spoiled food can lead to many health issues, such as food poisoning. There are three common sources of food becoming contaminated: agricultural poisons, chemical food additives and disease-causing bacteria. Sometimes, these factors aren’t preventable. However, in terms of disease-causing bacteria, there are some precautionary steps you can take in your own home to ensure you and your family are safe from the dangers of rotten food.
This rule applies to both your food and your person. When preparing food, make sure you thoroughly wash your hands, utensils and food surfaces often. As well as this, when buying fruit or vegetables that have been sprayed with pesticides or other nasty agricultural chemicals, make sure to wash them well under the tap before eating. When preparing raw and ready-to-eat-foods on the same surface, make sure to wash the area before and after to avoid contamination.
2. Food preparation
It is absolutely necessary to always prepare raw foods separately to ready-to-eat-foods. If you’re going to use the same chopping board, make sure to wash it after each food group is prepared. Also, it is important to remember to refrigerate or freeze perishable foods promptly – usually within two hours of purchasing them
3. Food storage
Food poisoning bacteria can only multiply in the temperature danger zone of between 5°C and 60°C. However, food poisoning bacteria do not multiply at the same rate throughout this temperature range. They multiply most quickly between 36°C and 38°C. Above 60°C nearly all food poisoning germs are killed. Below 5°C the germs stay alive but they do not multiply. Keeping food out of the temperature danger zone helps stop the multiplication and growth of bacteria. Another way to combat food contamination is to store food using a vacuum sealer. Using a storage option such as vacuum sealing has many benefits, such as your food remaining fresher for far longer, food not taking up as much space in your fridge, and can help food such as cheese and bread from becoming mouldy.
4. Defrost safely
When food is frozen, it slows the growth of bacteria but does not stop it entirely. Thus, it is imperative that you defrost food safely so bacteria does not continue to grow and cause food poisoning. Defrost food thoroughly before cooking or eating. You can use a microwave or a fridge to defrost food. However, when using a microwave, make sure you cook or consume food immediately after. Once the food is defrosted, do not freeze again. You can keep fully defrosted food in the fridge for a short time until it is ready to be cooked or reheated.
5. When in doubt, throw it out
Signs of food contamination can include broken packets, popped lids which should be sealed, weevils, gas present in meat packaging, unusual smells and visibly rotten parts of fruit and vegetables. If you think a food may be off, don’t risk it! Fresh food doesn’t last long. Throw out any questionable items to avoid food contamination and sickness in your household.
No one has time for food poisoning. Take these steps when washing, preparing, storing and defrosting your food items to combat the causes of food contamination. Stick to these five, helpful guidelines to ensure that you and your family are eating food that is safe and good for you!