Important Food Safety Tips To Avoid Food Poisoning
Food poisoning is not an illness to be taken lightly.
In mild cases, it would give you common symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps or discomfort and a loss of appetite, which can occur anytime from several hours to a couple of weeks after consumption of the contaminated food.
In serious cases, the condition could land you in the hospital, especially when the symptoms are prolonged and/or when you experience signs of dehydration.
While it may not be easy to pinpoint the source or cause of food poisoning, there are certain things we can do to reduce contamination and the risk of getting it, especially when storing and preparing food at home.
Here are some important food safety tips to keep in mind.
1) Have at least two cutting boards
You should own at least two boards - one for cutting raw meat or seafood products, and another for cooked or ready-to-eat food such as fruits.
2) Use water and vinegar to clean a cutting board
A dirty or worn-out chopping board could harbour bacteria, leading to food contamination and food poisoning.
Before washing a cutting board with hot water and soap, rinse it with a solution of water and vinegar to remove excess oil and grime.
This step will ensure extra cleanliness.
3) Thaw your food in the fridge
The fridge is the best place for thawing because the temperature remains steady.
If you’re running out of time, put the frozen food in a resealable bag and submerge in cold tap water.
Change the water every 30 minutes or so as it continues to thaw.
Do not place food directly in the sink or into container of water without packaging it.
As a guide, it takes an hour to thaw half a kilo of meat and up to three hours for up to 2kg.
4) Don’t refreeze food
If you’ve started to thaw something frozen and have changed your mind about using it, don’t put it back in the freezer.
Bacteria can multiply between thawing and refreezing.
5) Freeze artisan bread
Although artisan bread can only last three to four days in a cool and dry environment, you can keep them for longer in the freezer. Placing slices in a resealable bag to freeze will ensure they are good for up to two months.
6) Ensure the correct temperature for the fridge
Chillers should be between 0 deg C and 4 deg C, while freezer compartments should be -12 deg C and below.
This article was first published in Her World Online (www.HerWorld.com).