organic products grown in a sustainable habitat

The Five Keys for food safety

10 March 2014

cooking, health, environment, social reponsibility

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;
o Rinse them under running water but do not use any soap or detergent;
Do not wash meat, poultry and eggs as it will help bacteria spread and may contaminate your sink and countertops;

Did you know: Clean your sponges by placing them in the microwave for about a minute. This will kill all the bacteria that may be growing inside them.

2. Separate raw and cooked. This will prevent cross-contamination. Cross-contamination occurs when germs from raw food are passed on to a food that is ready to eat.
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;

Did you know: Wooden cutting boards are safer than plastic ones?

3. Cook thoroughly. Proper cooking will kill all the bacteria and ensure that the food is safe for consumption.
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);
o Cook eggs until both the white and yolk are firm;
o Fish should be opaque and flake easily;
o Shrimp and Lobster: The flesh becomes pearly and opaque
o Scallops: The flesh turns opaque and firm
o Clams, Mussels, and Oysters: The shells open during cooking — throw out ones that do not open;
Did you know: Thorough cooking and processing effectively kills salmonella bacteria.

4. Keep food at safe temperatures. Bacteria need food, warmth, moisture, and time to grow and multiply. In order to prevent bacteria from growing in your food, keep hot foods hot - above 60°C/140 F- and cold foods cold - below 4°C/ 40 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;

Did you know that illness-causing bacteria can grow in perishable foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them?

5. Use safe water and raw materials
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.

Did you know: Plastics bottles are not more likely to harbor bacteria than other kinds of packaging or drinking containers.

For more cooking tips and nutritional facts, please check out Natural Habitats’ Twitter and Facebook .


Blog & News

Palm Oil Is Everywhere

Palm oil (Elaeis guineensis) originates from West Africa. Once planted, after 3-4 years’ palm oil trees start to producing its first fruits and will continue all year-round for up to 30 years. Oil Palm is high yielding; it produces more oil per hectare than any other major oil seed crop.

Did you know that half of your items in your house contain palm oil?
Palm oil is also the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet

farmers, social reponsibility, environment, organic

Why Farm Organically?

With a growing population, nearly 10 billion people by 2050, and an increasing demand for food, agriculture is placed under extreme pressure. We heavily rely on services that the industry provides to us, such as food, clothes, wood, and many others. Unfortunately, with biodiversity losses and deforestation practices that accompany modern agriculture, these services are currently at risk. Therefore, we must take actions to sustain biodiversity, soils and forests for the generations to come

social reponsibility, environment, farmers, organic

An Important Role of Intercropping in Modern Agriculture

Population of our planet is constantly growing. The threat of insufficient food supply in the near future encourages intensification of the search for more productive agricultural technics. At Natural Habitats, we believe that well-planned intercropping is one of the most effective and sustainable ways to increase agricultural productivity.

Intercropping, as well as other forms of multiple cropping, is an ancient method of intensive agriculture that involves cultivation of two or more crops simultaneously on the same field

environment, farmers

Mainstream Sustainable Palm Oil Production in Ecuador

Deforestation caused by many palm-oil producers, harming wildlife habitats, has been a widespread concern around the world. However, more and more palm oil is now being sourced sustainably with a help of the certification initiative promoted by a non-profit association Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) that aims to transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm. Natural Habitats as 100% organic and sustainable producer was certified with RSPO standard in 2013.

In May 2013, Natural Habitats in Ecuador (Exportsustent) together with Solidaridad and National Association of Oil Palm Growers (ANCUPA) developed a pioneering project Mainstream Sustainable Palm Oil Production in Ecuador

farmers, environment, partnership, social reponsibility

An Ongoing Education of Farmers

Natural Habitats believes in doing business in harmony with the environment. This is the reason for us to continuously encourage smallholder farmers in Ecuador and Sierra Leone into getting involved in organic and sustainable production of palm oil.

On a regular basis, we educate and train our smallholder farmers in nature preservation and organic farming practices for not only their own good but for the betterment of the society

farmers, partnership, social reponsibility

Fair Trade Explained

Today, we are surrounded by numerous certifications on the products we buy at supermarkets. It is getting more and more confusing to figure out what exactly most of them stand for. Some labels are self-explanatory and some are not. Fair for Life Social and FairTrade certification belongs to the second category. Therefore, most of the consumers do not even realize that while they purchase Fair for Life or FairTrade certified products they contribute to the empowerment of poor around the world

farmers, social reponsibility, environment

Why Healthy Palm Oil is not an Oxymoron

When people hear about palm oil the first thing that usually comes to their mind is heart disease. The logic is pretty simple: fifty per cent of the oil consists of saturated fat that supposed to be bad for the heart, therefore, palm oil causes heart disease. However, numerous studies continue to confirm that palm oil does not promote heart problems and, if anything, it protects against them

cooking, health

Sustaining Food Security

Pressure on the world’s food supply is constantly increasing due to population growth, changing diets and government policies promoting biofuels. Current estimates suggest that by 2050 the food demand will be twice what it was in 2005. Biotech companies have strongly promoted the idea that genetically engineered (GE) crops are the key to “feeding the world”. According to Environmental Working Group , recent studies show that this promise has fallen flat

environment, farmers, social reponsibility