At a time of a pandemic, you’d want to avoid other illnesses that may compromise your safety such as foodborne illnesses which may be acquired from foods with harmful organisms in them. While they may be common, foodborne illnesses may range from mild to severe. Good thing, there are basic steps that you can take to stay free from them.
What are Foodborne Illnesses?
Sometimes referred to as food poisoning, this condition is caused by eating foods that contain bacteria, viruses, or parasites. While they can contaminate any type of food, some of the most common sources of foodborne illnesses include raw or not fully cooked meat, chicken, fish, and eggs. Manifestations of the condition include diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.
- Processed meats - bacteria may be found even in healthy animals and these parts may get mixed with the ones used for food.
- Dirty water - if contaminated water is used to wash fruits and vegetables, the germs it carries may be transferred to foods that will be for human consumption.
- Food preparation - dirty hands used in food preparation may spread germs and cause food contamination. Dirty chopping board, knife and other utensils also pose risks for foodborne illnesses.
How You Can Prevent Foodborne Illnesses
- Practice proper handwashing
This is one of the basic steps that must be observed to reduce the risk of acquiring foodborne illnesses. You must have already learned of its importance because of the pandemic. But it’s not as simple as using water and soap. There are steps that you should follow to ensure that it’s done properly.
- Wet hands with clean water
- Apply soap to your hands
- Wash and scrub hands for at least 20 seconds
- Rinse to get rid of the soap
- Dry hands with a clean towel
- Keep your kitchen clean
Knives, chopping boards, bowls, and even kitchen counters should be kept clean at all times. Use a dishwashing liquid with antibacterial properties for added protection and to ensure that your utensils are grease and germ-free.
Aside from your utensils, make sure that a clean kitchen is maintained. Keep surfaces clean and sanitized to prevent bacterial growth and cross-contamination. Choose a surface disinfectant that is safe to use and can deliver intensive sanitation.
TIP: Start with a clean station. Make sure that it will be sanitized again after working for 4 continuous hours as this is the amount of time that bacteria may grow to dangerous levels.
- Properly handle foods
You can avoid foodborne illnesses through the proper handling of food. There are basic rules that you must follow to keep you and your family safe from these illnesses.
- Make sure to separate raw meat from fruits, vegetables and other food as they may spread germs and cause contamination.
- Cook food thoroughly especially meat, chicken, fish and eggs.
- Observe proper food storage. Leftovers must be refrigerated while fruits and vegetables must not be left at room temperature for a long time.
- Throw food when you’re not sure of its safety. It’s better to not eat food if you’re in doubt of its cleanliness.
- Thaw frozen food properly. Acceptable methods include using cool running water and putting it in the microwave. It is not advisable to leave frozen food at room temperature when thawing as it will cause bacterial growth.
TIP: To ensure the cleanliness of raw fruits and vegetables, you can use a natural sanitizer to disinfect fresh products and raw meat.
- Take note of expiry dates
Even when food still looks okay for consumption with no signs of spoilage, you should avoid eating foods beyond their expiry dates to prevent foodborne illnesses. There are pathogens that can grow to dangerous levels even when they are not visible or when signs are not visible. It is best to make sure that food is consumed before it reaches its expiry date.
- Keep pets away from food preparation areas
Animals may carry diseases and germs. Letting them near areas where you prepare food can increase the risks of foodborne illnesses and may become the reason for pathogens to spread.
Foodborne illness is a common problem with symptoms that range from mild to severe. At this point when you cannot afford to compromise your health and safety, it’s important to learn the simple steps that you can take to avoid foodborne illnesses.
BestLab is a trusted supplier of ethyl alcohol, sanitizers, and dishwashing liquid that you can use to combat foodborne illnesses. Contact us to inquire about our products or to become a distributor.