Eat safely this Christmas

Published 8:52pm Tuesday, December 20, 2011

As God’s ambassadors, parents, school officials, government food safety officials advocates for the betterment of humans, members of the association of food safety educators and authors, we would like everybody in our area to join us in promoting food safety awareness this special season. Food borne illness is a very serious public health risk and all of us are vulnerable. Reflect on the numbers: Each year, approximately 76 million cases of food borne illness occur in the United States alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of those cases of food borne illness, more than 325,000 people are hospitalized and about 5,000 people die – that is almost 13 people every day.

It is certain that a cooperative approach from all those who have a vested interest in the food supply/preparation is the only sure way to combat this significant public health problem. The fact that this season comes with lots of parties and celebrations that demand oodles of cooking and eating is enough reason for every body to be involved in food safety. I love this saying, “Prevention is better than cure,” I strongly believe that it is less expensive to prevent these food borne illnesses than to cure the sicknesses associated with them. Above and beyond the loss of money or good health, parents and caring teachers can be emotionally effected when their children/students are sick. When this happens, it affects productivity at home, day care centers, and schools respectively.

Statistics establish a correlation between food borne illness and absenteeism in schools and other pertinent activities. The truth is that young ones are among the groups that can easily be stricken by food borne illness.

There are major hazards that our children, or any other, need to know in order to be effective with preventing food borne illnesses. These are biological, chemical, and physical hazards. Examples of pathogenic biological hazards are E.Coli 157:H7, Listeria Monocytogenes, Salmonella and etc. Common pathogens may produce the toxin in food before it is eaten or produce the toxin in a person’s intestine after it is eaten. Other examples of biological hazards include viruses which can be transferred easily in schools or at parties through people who are sick or food preparers who are sick. Parasites like Trichinella Spiralis or Trichinella Britovi can be transferred to human by eating undercooked pork or wild game infected with the parasite; which will consequently lead to a disease known as Trichinellosis or trichiniases. Chemical hazards include dishwashing detergents, pesticides or allergens that are used in food preparation.

The physical hazards are physical objects like pins, piece of glass, etc. that can conceal themselves in food and consequently hurt a person. Keep the physical and chemical hazards away from food preparation areas.

As a result of the above clarifications I recommend these – Clean – Wash hands after toilet use, after playing with your pet, after touching dirty objects or objects that a lot of people touch. Just wash hands regularly and before touching food. I do not recommend hand sanitizer over hand wash because sanitizer does not work effectively on dirty surfaces. Wash utensils and cutting boards before and after contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. Sneeze and cough not on food or people. If you’re very sick, sneezes/coughs regularly, have open wound, shows evidence of communicable disease in transmissible stage, you need a clearance from your doctor or other specialists on when to prepare food. Separate – Treat raw meat as a carrier of sickness causing organisms.

Keep raw meat and poultry apart from foods that won’t be cooked. Use different cutting boards for meat, poultry, seafood, and veggies. Cook – You can’t tell it’s done by how it looks!

Use a food thermometer to be sure meat and poultry have reached a safe minimum internal temperature;160 instant for Beef,Pork,Veal,lamb;165 instant for Turkey, Chicken, Duck ,Goose.

Chill leftovers and takeout foods within two hours and keep the fridge at 40 ºF or below to keep bacteria from growing. Chilling food properly is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of food borne illness.

A bacterium actually spreads faster between 40 ºF. and 140 ºF.

Leave a comment

You must be a registered user and signed in to comment on this article and view existing comments.

Editor's Picks