There are millions annually, who’ll get sick unnecessarily from food borne bacteria and viruses, which can be avoided. The most vulnerable being children under six, seniors over sixty, those with weakened immune systems, and women who are pregnant. The cause is because of improper food handling, especially in warmer weather.
What can result is food poisoning from parasites and bacteria, this from seafood that’s improperly prepared, or from consuming contaminated meat such as ground beef not thoroughly cooked. Prevention is the key and the best cure, which is a lot easier than medical treatment, this when it comes to food poisoning.
The first step is to always wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap and warm water, this before handling any food.
Make sure that all the preparation surfaces are completely sanitized. Never allow the juices from poultry, meat, or fish, to contact other foods.
Never rinse frozen poultry or meat in warm water to thaw, as the water can splash and then contaminate surfaces, or other foods such as vegetables.
Always place eggs, meat, and fish immediately into the fridge once getting home from shopping, and never leave them in the car or counter for longer than 2 hours. Pay attention to best before or expiry dates, and always follow the cooking instructions.
Handling Of Eggs
Salmonella can be commonly found on the outside of the egg shells and at times inside the shell, this especially if it’s cracked or damaged. So always purchase eggs with unbroken shells.
Eggs, especially raw can spoil quickly when in the “danger zone,” where the temperature is anywhere between 40 to 140 Fahrenheit. They should be thrown out if they’re left out at room temperature for over 2 hours.
Hard boiled eggs can be kept sealed and refrigerated for up to a week. They should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 Fahrenheit. Cake batter or cookie dough containing eggs, can contain the salmonella bacteria, so should be thoroughly cooked.
Handling Of Poultry
Salmonella or Campylobacter bacteria can be found in raw or under cooked poultry such as chicken, turkey, or duck. It can particularly affect children under 6, so they should always be kept away from raw poultry at all times, along with young adults under 30.
Always make sure the juices never leaks and contacts other surrounding foods. All poultry should be refrigerated or frozen immediately, or cooked, this always before the expiry date on the packaging.
Wash your hands thoroughly, always scrub all utensils and preparation surfaces. To avoid leakage, thaw frozen poultry in the fridge. Make sure that it’s completely cooked by using a meat thermometer, and that the thickest part is 180 Fahrenheit.
Handling Of Beef
The internal temperature of a cut of beef, such as a steak, isn’t considered a significant health concern. The reason being that all the harmful bacteria is usually found on the surface of the meat, and should be eliminated by cooking, even if it’s cooked “rare.”
If the beef is mechanically tenderized, then the potential of the bacteria spreading to the center can occur, so it should be cooked until it’s well done. Always keep marinated beef in the refrigerator, and not at room temperature.
Those handling ground beef can become sick by not washing their hands, or by not cooking the hamburger entirely. Always use raw ground beef within 2 days of purchasing, or freeze it. Always keep raw meat separate from other groceries in case of leakage.
Handling Of Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits such as berries or melons can potentially become contaminated by the soil, or by animals or ground water. Always choose leafy greens which are fresh and not wilted or brown. Fresh leafy greens can remain in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Bagged salads and vegetables should be immediately refrigerated and consumed before its expiry date. Always wash your hands before handling vegetables. Discard the outer leaves while washing all veggies under cool running water to clean.
Unpasteurized Juices And Cider
Unpasteurized juices such as those “freshly squeezed” from the health store or juice bars, can potentially be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, or parasites. The contamination can occur during farming, handling, processing, or transport.
Make sure that the vendor knows the standard “Code Of Practice” for handling produce, especially when purchasing fresh juices, ciders, or smoothies from farmers markets, juice bars, cider mills, or roadside stands. Always refrigerate unpasteurized juice immediately.
Seafood When Canning Or Bottling
All seafood such as fish, or shellfish including lobster, crab, or clams, if they’re not canned or bottled properly, can cause a lethal food borne illness known as botulism.
Botulism is extremely serious and lethal, and cannot usually be destroyed by heating. Symptoms include nausea, muscle weakness, vomiting, double vision, dizziness, paralysis, and respiratory arrest.
Botulism symptoms will usually occur within 12 to 36 hours after consuming the affected food. Always wash your hands in soap, scrub all utensils and equipment before preparing the canning or bottling of the seafood.
Use specialized equipment such as a pressure canner, where the steam can reach the high temperature needed to eliminate the botulism bacteria.
Vegetables Or Herbs Stored In Oil
Botulism can be prominent in vegetables or herbs that’s improperly stored in oil. Onions, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes are examples.
The vegetables which contains salt or vinegar should generally be safe, as what they contain are properties which eliminates the growth of bacteria.
When preparing your own, either canned or bottled in oil, avoid using bruised or wilted vegetables. Always wash your hands and all bottles, cans, and utensils thoroughly. Always label, date, and store in the refrigerator.
Make sure that you use the oil within a week after opening it, while throwing out any surplus. Spoiled oil will look, taste, and smell the same as good oil.