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Food-borne illness, which is more commonly referred to as food poisoning, occurs when you eat contaminated, spoiled or toxic food. Here, we will tell you the ways on how to avoid getting food poisoning.
Food poisoning is a horrible thing and it's caused by bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Bacteria is the major cause of food poisoning. Bacteria like E.coli, listeria and salmonella are the types of bacteria that could cause this condition. Salmonella bacteria is the biggest culprit of serious food poisoning cases.
Food poisoning is also caused by parasites that spread through food. Parasites can live in your digestive tract undetected for many years. Pregnant women and people with a weak immune system pose the risk of serious side effects if parasites reside in their intestine.
Viruses can also cause food poisoning. The norovirus causes over 19 million cases of food poisoning each year. Hepatitis A virus is a serious condition that can be transmitted through food.
The common causes of food poisoning are when you consume foods raw, as they don't go through the cooking process. It can also happen when you do not wash foods before cooking.
So, have a look at the ways on how to avoid getting food poisoning.
1. Wash Your Hands
It is essential that you wash your hands with soap and water before touching any food. Also, wash your hands properly after you handle foods like meat, fish, vegetables and eggs. Because your hands can easily spread bacteria around the kitchen and onto the food. It's always important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
2. Wash Dishcloths
Wash your dishcloths and tea towels regularly. Allow them to dry before you use them again. Research has found that washing your dishcloths in a washing machine or in boiling water for 15 minutes will kill the germs. If you have used a dishcloth to wipe up raw meat and raw vegetables, then you should immediately replace it with a clean one.
3. Use Separate Chopping Boards
It is advisable to use a separate chopping board to prepare raw food, such as meat and fish. This will avoid contaminating ready-to-cook foods with harmful bacteria that can be present in raw food before it has been cooked. Use one chopping board for fresh produce and another for raw meat, seafood or poultry.
4. Keep Raw Meat Separate
It's very important to keep raw meat away from ready-to-eat foods, like salad, fruits and bread. Because these foods will not be cooked before you eat them. So, any bacteria can get onto the foods from the raw meat. Ensure that you always cover raw meat and store it in the freezer. Make sure the raw meat should not touch any other food products or drip onto them.
5. Worktops Should Be Kept Clean
It is important that you wash your worktops before and after you prepare food. Especially after they have been touched by food products like vegetables, raw meat, raw eggs, and fish. Just to make sure that there is no lapse with hygiene, you can use hot, soapy water for cleaning your worktops.
6. Cook Food Thoroughly
Foods such as poultry, pork, burgers, sausages and kebabs should be cooked until steaming hot, with no pink meat inside. Freezing raw chicken reduces the levels of campylobacter bacteria, but doesn't remove them completely. The safest way to kill all campylobacter bacteria is by cooking chicken thoroughly.
7. Personal Hygiene
While cooking food, always make sure that your nails are properly clean and your hair is tied up. This will significantly lower the chances of your food getting contaminated with harmful bacteria. Also, it's necessary to not enter your kitchen with shoes on. Entering with slippers in your kitchen can bring in all the world's harmful bacteria. So, while cooking or entering the kitchen, open your shoes or slippers outside.
8. Keep Your Refrigerator Below 5 degree C
It is essential to keep your fridge temperature below 5 degree C and use a fridge thermometer to check it, as this prevents harmful germs from growing and multiplying in the food. Also, avoid overfilling your fridge if it's too full because air can't circulate properly, which can affect the overall temperature.
9. Cool Leftovers Quickly
If you have cooked food instantly that you are not going to eat straight away, cool it as quickly as possible. Cool the food within 90 minutes and store it in the fridge or freezer. Also, to prevent food poisoning, use the food leftovers from the fridge within 2 days. This will prevent the food to degrade and lose its nutrients.
10. Don't Eat Foods Past Due Date
Do not consume foods that have gone past their due date, even if it looks and smells okay. Use it before the expiry dates, as they quickly attract harmful bugs, especially the ones developing in the packaged food. The foods to not eat past their expiry dates are oysters, cheese, red meat, sprouts, shrimp, milk, eggs, etc.
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