Being a father of four, I have to be concerned with the food on our table. Food is necessary for our survival but there are incidences when food causes food poisoning. And whereas this may clear within days, there are incidences when food poisoning became life threatening. Particularly in a family setting, I have learned to be more cautious. As a father, I may not have such a hard time with food poisoning as compared to the children. It is important to remember that food hygiene is critical if one will avoid cases of food poisoning.
What is food poisoning?
Food poisoning is a situation where individuals eat food or water that is contaminated. This leads to diarrhea, stomach cramps or pains and pain in the limbs.
From my experience, the following foods need good hygiene standards to prevent any food poisoning incidences. When you are eating in a restaurant, the owners should have discussed food hygiene matters (perhaps with Health & Safety Consultants) and there should be minimal risk to any incidents. At home however, it could be slightly easier to slip up regarding contaminated food.
1. Leafy greens
Leafy greens are the best for my salads. And now that we are facing a rise in lifestyle disease, children as well as adults are advised to take more greens. They include lettuce, spinach, kale, cabbage and escarole among others. Unfortunately CDC recorded 8836 notifications of food poisoning related to greens. The bagged spinach in 2012 cannot be easily forgotten. Greens are easily contaminated by rinsing with dirty water, manure or unwashed hands. Proper hygiene during the process of handling greens will reduce incidences of food poisoning.
Eggs make for my favorite breakfast dish for both my children and the adults. The salmonella bacteria in eggs have been found to cause many food poisonings. It is important to properly cook the eggs so as to kill the germs, ensure eggs are stored in a refrigerator and lastly, avoid any raw intake of eggs (this could be especially so for kids taking in cake icing that contains raw eggs or cookie dough).
Meat is the favorite of so many people-unfortunately it has recorded the highest number of food poisoning notifications. Chicken was top on the list followed by ground beef. It is important that all meat is thoroughly cooked before serving. Ensure roasted meat or barbequed meat is thoroughly done and even boiled meat should be cooked to be most tender. This will not only kill the germs but ensure your children enjoy eating the meat.
This is a type of fish that could easily be contaminated with scombrotoxin that would lead to headaches, cramping and flushing. If stored at 600, the fresh fish easily releases the toxins which cannot be destroyed even by cooking. Sea food should be kept in appropriate cold conditions from the time it is gotten out of water to when it is on the plate.
Proper care while buying seafood, therefore, is a must. Many seafood vendors (knowingly or unknowingly) might not adhere to the safest standards when selling fish or packaged seafood products. Thankfully, there are online stores like ER Fisheries & Foods and others where you might be able to verify the quality of the products before buying them. Having access to safe seafood and frozen food could drastically bring down the chances of catching food poisoning.
5. Milk, cheese and ice cream
These dairy products can easily be carriers of germs if not hygienically handled. Milk should be pasteurized or properly boiled to ensure all germs are killed. The cheese and ice cream should all be handled in hygienic conditions to prevent any contamination.
There are two main factors in preventing food poisoning; good hygiene and proper handling of food. This is why all food and safety authoritative bodies make food hygiene standards mandatory to keep up with. Regular inspections of the restaurant or food processing premises along with ensuring that all staff, especially supervisory staff, hold the knowledge necessary to maintain these standards, form a big part of the food hygiene process.
Taking up a supervisor’s food safety course is often very essential in imparting better food hygiene practices and can play a pivotal role in increasing and maintaining a high food hygiene rating at any food venue.
Everyone processing human food for consumption should ensure they adhere to very high standards of food hygiene. When it comes to public-serving places like restaurants, this becomes even more important. Keeping up with regulations can prevent a lot of problems, food poisoning being the major one.