The Five Keys for food safety
A healthy diet begins with safe nutrition and knowing how to handle, prepare and store food in order to avoid illnesses. “Food safety is a public health priority, millions of people fall ill every year and many die as a result of eating unsafe food” (WHO 2014). More than 200 diseases are spread through food according to research done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Food safety is defined as all the conditions and practices that prevent contamination and foodborne illnesses (Hanning, Crandall and Ricke 2012). In other words, it is focused on ensuring that food is prepared in a safe and clean environment.
WHO developed five key principles to prevent illness and raise awareness of adopting safe food handling behavior. These principles are as follows:
1. Keep clean. This will help in avoiding spreading bacteria to food and your family.
Always wash your hands, the materials and the work surface used before and after you handle food.
Always squeeze the extra moisture out of the sponge as it is an ideal place for bacteria to grow;
Wash fruits and vegetables;o Cut away any damaged or bruised areas;
Do not wash meat, poultry and eggs as it will help bacteria spread and may contaminate your sink and countertops;
Separate meat from vegetables when shopping and in the refrigerator;
Use different cutting boards for meat than for fruits and vegetables;
Replace cutting boards that are excessively worn;
Pay special attention when cooking meat, poultry, eggs and seafood:o Meat and poultry should be cooked according to your preferences. A meat thermometer can be use to cook the meat according to USDA standards (poultry-75°C/170 F , beef, lamb and pork- 70°C/160 F);
Refrigerate promptly as some items such as meat and poultry must be frozen if they are not used within 1-2 days;
Leftovers should be refrigerated within 2 hours;
Always check the expiration date;
Do not use food that has an unusual smell or spoiled taste;
Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly if eaten raw.