It is estimated that up to three in ten persons world wide fall ill due to food poisoning each year and with the onset of the rainy season, there is an increased risk. Here are six foods that can help you stay safe and prevent food poisoning.
Rely On Temperature Not Colour For Burgers
Recent studies say the way ground beef is packaged affects the meat’s colour as it cooked, with some patties turning brown before they reached a safe temperature, while others were pink in the middle after thorough cooking.
It is best to heat the meat to a high temperature of up to 90 degrees centigrade. There is nothing to worry about whole cuts of beef (if they haven’t been “blade-tenderized” or had flavoring injected) because surface bacteria are destroyed through cooking.
Never Rely On Pre-washing
Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, and cabbage constitute the riskiest foods. Furthermore, bagged salad greens are more likely to cause digestive problems than whole heads.
The reason for this is that cut leaves are more vulnerable to bacteria, and the large volume of greens handled together means a higher risk for cross-contamination.
There’s no for you to stay off salads but you should wash prewashed lettuce and other cut greens again. Thoroughly rinse leaves in cold water, use a salad spinner to remove most of the water, then blot dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Also, refrigerate vegetables, especially lettuce within two hours of buying, and use within a week.
Wash Plates And Platters Often
Make sure you wash any plates, platters, countertops, and cooking utensils that once held or came in contact with raw products before using them to hold or serve cooked food.
Use soapy hot water to wash after each step of the preparation process. This will prevent bacteria from festering on surfaces and lower the chances of them infecting your food down the line.
Also, consider swapping your environmentally friendly dishcloths for disposable paper towels. This is because the latter is safer, since they don’t harbour any threatening germs. If you must use dishtowels, launder them often on a hot cycle.
Defrosting methods such as leaving meat or chicken on the counter or using hot water are actually unsafe because as soon as these foods become warmer than 25°C, bacteria can begin to multiply.
You can thaw safely in the refrigerator for 24 hours or use cold water, which should take roughly two to three hours for a depending on the size of the package. This method will require you to change out the water every 30 minutes to ensure it stays cold.
You can also cook without thawing, though it will take about 50 percent longer than the cook time for thawed or fresh meat.
Examine Cans Regularly
Canned or jarred products can stay for long periods of time because of the sterile environment created when they are processed.
Dents, crack, and loose lids indicate the vacuum has been broken and can also point to contamination while bulging cans or jar lids may indicate that foods are under-processed or contaminated. Inspect all jars and cans before purchasing to ensure they are intact.
Check The Packaging Of Frozen Foods
Never purchase frozen foods that have damaged packaging, because any tears or evidence of being crushed could signify possible contamination. Packages that have frost and ice crystals should also be avoided because they could mean the package has been thawed and refrozen, or is very old.