Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Preventing Foodborne Illnesses from Getting Into Your Table

Keeping your family safe isn’t just the government’s responsibility to you. Thanks to the Center for Disease and Prevention, the agency in charge of monitoring and preventing outbreaks and epidemics, you don’t have to look further for resources on food safety and how to keep your family safe from foodborne illnesses.

1. Observe Proper Hygiene

A cardinal rule in preventing the spread of foodborne illnesses is washing your hands with warm soapy water for 20 minutes. Dry your hands with paper towels and discard these immediately.

2. Prevent Cross-Contamination

Here’s something you’ll find interesting: your kitchen is the dirtiest place inside your home (and not your bathroom), according to NSF International. Thus, it is important to clean and sanitize places in the kitchen where you usually prepare food such as kitchen countertops and sinks. Also, make sure to use separate cutting boards and utensils when chopping up veggies and meat.

3. Cook Food to Recommended Temperature

The recommended cooking temperature for meat, poultry and seafood is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. It helps to use a food thermometer to check whether you’re cooking your food to the right temperature.

4. Store Food Properly

Refrigerate food immediately to prevent spoilage. To avoid cross-contamination or leaks, store the leftovers in double plastic bags. Limit storing these leftovers to three days in the fridge.

Another thing that could make a difference in preventing foodborne illnesses from making its way to your table is by being a smart shopper. Check the packaging or container of the food you buy if it has dents, cuts or openings. Look for the expiration date of the food as well. Also, when stepping foot inside a grocery store, put non-perishable items in your cart first and shop for cold cuts, deli meat and perishables last.

Should one of your loved ones experience known food poisoning symptoms like gastroenteritis, stomach cramps, diarrhea or nausea, don’t wait until their situation worsens. Bring them to the hospital and contact your local government health administration immediately if you suspect a foodborne illness incident.

Learn more about proper food handling, cooking and storage by enrolling in a food safety training course and getting your food safety certification. Whether you’re a practicing food and beverage professional or a mere housewife or food enthusiast, you can benefit tremendously from a food safety training course.

Image Credit: The Ad Council's photostream
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