What are 4 steps to food safety ?
A lot of people don't think about food safety until it's too late. Even if you're careful about what you eat, there are still many ways that bacteria and other harmful germs can spread. A few simple steps can help to keep your kitchen clean and safe, giving you an extra layer of protection against salmonella, E. Coli, listeria, and other bacterial outbreaks. When dining out, these tips will make sure your meal is as germ-free as possible.
4 Steps to Food Safety - How to Stay Safe and Avoid Food Poisoning
Why Food Safety Is Important
Food safety and a healthy life are two co-dependent phrases ! It is extremely risky to consume food that is not guarded by preventive measures. If hygiene is not followed even while growing, harvesting, processing, cooking and storing food, it can be detrimental for health.
In USA, every year,48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne illness, as per the data showed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Contaminated food, apart from food poisoning, can even lead to life-taking medical conditions.
1. If your eatables get contaminated by bacteria like Salmonella , it can cause two kinds of foodborne illness-
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and fever, with symptoms generally lasting a couple of days and tapering off within a week. Raw foods like fruits and vegetables , nuts and raw meat poultry are likely to be contaminated by Salmonella.
2. Enteric fever high fever, food poisoning -- diarrhea or constipation, aches, headache, and drowsiness. l Enteric fever includes typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever.
3. The US FDA has identified that a bacteria called Campylobacter has caused most of the foodborne illness in USA. Campylobacter can enter the body through contaminated water, unpasteurized milk or cheese, and undercooked , raw meat poultry seafood .
It can cause gastrointestinal symptoms , nausea, food poisoning -- vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), cramps as well as a fever typically appear within 2 to 5 days and may last up to 10 days.
In some cases, Campylobacter may spread to the bloodstream and cause a life-threatening infection.
4. The US FDA says that although foodborne Listeriosis is not common, it is one of the leading causes of death from foodborne illness .
Listeria can cause two forms of disease
- It can cause mild to intense nausea, vomiting, aches, fever, and, sometimes, diarrhea, and usually resolves itself.
- Invasive Listeriosis is a deadly form that occurs when the infection invades beyond the gut to sites like the blood or brain. This can cause blood infection, meningitis infection around the brain and other potentially fatal problems. In pregnant women, Listeria infection can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm labor, and severe illness or death in the newborn.
4 Steps to Food Safety in the Kitchen
To prevent any foodborne illness or food poisoning, the United States Food and Drug Administration and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issues advisories from time-to-time.
These advisories mainly include steps to ensure food safety in the kitchen-
1. Properly Cooking raw foods like poultry and seafood
2. Food Storage
4. Avoid cross-contamination
You're eating at a friend's house and you're not sure if the food is safe.
You're at a restaurant and you're not sure if the food is safe.
Cooking food at the right temperature can kill germs and bacteria causing foodborne illness. It is very difficult to say if the food is properly cooked just by seeing its color or checking its texture, especially in the case of meat poultry.
The only way that can guarantee you the right internal temperature is by using a food thermometer.
Considering the importance of the right internal temperature of the food for health, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has even recommended the ideal cooking temperature for meat poultry seafood .
- Whole cuts of beef, veal, lamb, and pork, including fresh ham ( raw meats )- 145F (then allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating)
- Fish with fins- 145F or cook until flesh is opaque
- Ground meats, such as beef and pork- 160F
- Meat poultry, including ground chicken and turkey- 165F
- Leftovers and casseroles- 165F
- If cooking temperature can kill germs, making the food healthy, storage temperature can add to the longevity of the food. Thus, storing food at the correct temperature is as important as cooking food at the right internal temperature .
- There is a danger zone between 40 Fahrenheit and 140 Fahrenheit. If food is left between this temperature or room temperature , it can lead to bacterial growth. In fact, the bacteria can grow at a double rate in just 20 minutes when the food is stored in the temperature danger zone.
- CDC suggests to refrigerate food within two hours of cooking.
- Also, do not store ready to eat packets for longer than 4-5 days after its unsealing.
- We cannot emphasize the importance of handwashing any more. Handwashing is the first step to maintaining hygiene in the kitchen and all Food Safety and health organizations vouch for it.
- Wash your hands before you start cooking. Thoroughly clean your hands and fingers with soapy water for 20 seconds to make them germ-free. It is one of the easiest and guaranteed ways to prevent foodborne illness .
- Kitchen cleaners' towels are often moist and wetan ideal environment for bacterial growth. Make sure to wash them in hot water and sun dry them regularly.
- Cleaning fruits and vegetables is equally important as washing hands to ensure Food Safety .
- Make sure to wash dishes, pans, cooking pots in hot soapy water every night before shutting down the kitchen. Immerse these in a sanitizing solution that can be prepared using chlorine bleach and lukewarm water. Air-dry the dishes as the towels and sponges could contaminate the dishes.
Avoid Cross Contamination
- Raw meats are highly prone to bacterial growth , so it is important to use separate cutting boards and cutting tools.
- If using kitchen station or table top as chopping board, make sure to clean it. Since we are used to mounting all ingredients, raw meat and materials on kitchen slabs, it can become a source of cross contamination.
- Wash your produce like spinach, lettuce and tomatoes thoroughly as they are more prone to E-coli and salmonella during harvest. Again, use separate knives and cutting boards for fruits and veggies to avoid cross-contamination.
- All these measures can strengthen your Food Safety system.
Maintaining kitchen hygiene is no rocket-science. All you need to do is be a little extra attentive and careful when dealing with perishable items. Make it a habit to wash your hands the moment you enter kitchen. It will reduce the risk of cross contamination , consequently curbing food poisoning and other foodborne illness . Clean your kitchen appliances and cutting boards from time-to-time.
And, cook and store food at right temperature to ensure Food Safety .
To learn more, click on Food Safety , Supply Chain
The thought of food poisoning is a scary one.
You don’t want to be sick for the day or worse, you don’t want your family members to get sick from eating your food.