World Food Safety Day 2019 – Five tips for preparing food safely

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This year marks the first time that World Food Safety Day is celebrated on a global scale. It was approved by the United Nations back in December 2018, and aims to strengthen efforts to ensure the food we eat is safe.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) teamed up with the World Health Organization (WHO) to lead the efforts and assist governments to managing food safety and eliminating the risks involved.

However, there are many ways that we can ensure food safety in our individual spheres. This mainly revolves around the way we personally handle and consume food. Let’s look at the five golden rules.

Five food safety rules

Keep food and preparation areas clean

Always wash your hands before handling food and during food preparation. In addition, sanitise all working surfaces while preparing a meal, and protect the area against bugs, insects and animals.

Microorganisms are carried on hards, as well as wiping cloths and utensils. Take special note of your cutting boards as the slightest contact can transfer bacteria to food.

Separate raw and cooked food

If you’re a fan of Gordan Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, you’ll know by now how serious this is. He has shut down several restaurants for keeping cooked meat and raw meat in the same fridge.

Always use separate equipment and utensils when handling raw and cooked food. This is because raw meat can contain dangerous microorganisms which may be transferred onto other foods during preparation and storage.

Cook food thoroughly

Especially meat, poultry, eggs and seafood. When preparing stews and soups, ensure that it has reached at least 70 degrees Celsius. When cooking meat or poultry, the juices should be clear, not pink.

Cooking food thoroughly ensures that all dangerous microorganisms are killed off and is safe for human consumption. Pay special attention to minced meats, roasts, large joints of meat, and whole poultry.

Store food at safe temperatures

Once cooked, ensure that food is adequately refrigerated. Cooked food should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours. But then again, don’t store cooked food for too long in the fridge either.

In addition, don’t thaw frozen food at room temperature. Microorganisms can multiply quicker when food is stored at room temperature. All cooked and perishable foods must be refrigerated, preferably below 5 degrees Celsius.

Use safe water and raw materials

Where possible, use fresh water and wholesome foods. If you are in a position to use fresh water and wholesome foods, recognise that this is a privilege and be grateful for that.

Always watch raw fruits and vegetables, and don’t use any foods beyond its expiry date. Remember that even water and ice could be contaminated with microorganisms and chemicals.

Also read – World Food Safety Day 2019 – Here’s what you need to know

Watch: Food safety guidelines

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