The importance of food safety cannot be overemphasized; as this directly affects the food we consume (into our body) for their nutrients. Food safety can sometimes be mistaken to be food hygiene but they are not the same though they overlap.
WHAT IS FOOD SAFETY AND FOOD HYIGENCE
Food safety encompasses all the business practices that must be adhered to ensure food is fit for consumption (farm – finished product). Food Hygiene is one of the important practices which make it a subcategory of food safety (personal hygiene, safe food handling, cross contamination etc). Food Safety is very important especially now during this pandemic with the increase of food delivery and home cooking so as to prevent contamination of our food.
SIMPLE SAFE FOOD HANDLING PRACTICES THAT CAN KEEP YOU SAFE
A critical part of healthy living is eating good food. We can reduce contaminating our food by following safe food handling practices be it at home or in a restaurant. There are four basic principles to reduce risk of food contamination. These are:
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use warm water if available, and close tap with tissue towel to avoid contaminating washed hands.
- Sanitize Surfaces- clean surface with hot soapy water.
- Clean sweep refrigerated foods once a week – to remove spoiling or spoilt foods.
Keep your appliances clean.
Rinse your vegetables and fruits before eating, cutting and cooking. This should be done even if peeling to prevent transfer to the inside.
- When shopping keep meat, raw sea food in a separate bag to prevent cross contamination with other goods, through blood or chemicals used to preserve frozen foods.
- Separate food when preparing and serving. Always use a clean cutting board for vegetables and a different one for raw food such as meat.
- Do not put cooked food on a plate that was used for raw food without washing the plate.
- Always cook to safe internal temperatures (well done and cooked through). This is usually between 62 – 100 degrees Celsius (Depending on what is being cooked).
- Raw food (meat, fish) be put in the fridge right away.
- Follow the 2 hour rule- Put food in fridge within 2 hours of cooking or buying from store.
- Thaw food in the fridge, under cold water or in a microwave.
- Marinate food in the fridge.
DIAGRAM SHOWING SAFE HANDLE OF FOOD
During this period, it’s best to be more conscious of what we eat and how we handle it. Our food is our first medicine to having a healthy body and increases our chance of combating diseases and illnesses, of which coronavirus is inclusive.
Chioma Ahumareze Ukwandu,
P.R.O Department, A-HSEAI