Did you experience having stomach problems right after you ate a certain food? More often than not, you are experiencing what is called food poisoning.
Food poisoning can cause food-borne illness brought about by eating contaminated foods. The common problem is caused by bacteria through improper handling of foods.
Food poisoning should not be taken lightly because serious cases can lead to death. If you think that you can only be poisoned from the food you buy outside your home, such as restaurants and fast food outlets, you should be aware that foods prepared at home can also make you ill if not prepared the right way.
By following strict cleanliness and storage, we can minimize and prevent the risk of contamination in our foods:
1. Always wash your hands and utensils before and after using.
Always wash your hands with water and soap and dry them before handling and preparing foods. You should also wash right after preparing them, particularly raw foods: meat, vegetables, eggs and fish. Make sure to wash your hands after using the bathroom, toilet, blowing your nose, holding your pet or touching a garbage bin. The same should be applied for utensils that you use for preparing foods. Wash them with water and soap to prevent food contamination.
2. Cook food at correct temperature.
Use a food thermometer to ensure that the foods you are preparing are cooked. Foods should be prepared at the correct temperature to ensure that microorganisms are destroyed through cooking. Avoid bloody chicken or pork meat that is the number one cause of poisoning due to Salmonella.
Cook chicken and turkey at 165 F (73.9 C), beef, such as steaks and roast chops at 160 F (71.1 C) and pork, lamb, and veal at 145 F (62.8 C). Ensure that you also cook shellfish and fish at correct temperature.
3. Separate raw from cooked foods.
Segregate raw from cooked foods to prevent cross-contamination. This should be done not only when preparing food in the kitchen, but from shopping and storing foods.
4. Refrigerate or freeze foods correctly.
Maintain the temperature of your fridge below 5C to kill bacteria and other microorganisms from growing. Refrigerate perishable foods within an hour after shopping.
5. Do not leave foods on the table.
This is a simple way to prevent food poisoning. After eating, store leftovers in the fridge or discard them right away. Leaving foods on the table is harmful because it is a perfect environment for microorganisms to grow and thrive. Bacillus, a bacteria commonly thrive at room temperature. So, if you leave rice, sauces, soups and other foods on the table for many hours, there is a risk of bacillus contamination.
6. Be careful with minced meats.
Be careful with minced meats that are perfect ingredients for making patties for hamburgers. Minced meat is a bit risky if you’re not sure of how the food is prepared because the grinding of meat altogether is an ideal surface for bacteria. When they are grounded together, the bacteria are incorporated into the blend.
Lucy Hanes is a health, nutrition and fitness writer. During her spare time, she makes sure she prepares foods for her loved ones, or she spends time with her pet Scotch, a Pomeranian puppy. You can visit her website at: rehabcenters.com