Remember food safety during the holidaysPublished 7:31pm Tuesday, December 18, 2012
May God continue to give us love, hope, joy and His peace throughout this Christmas season. We must celebrate this season for what it represents and also in preparation of a magnificent 2013 which is imminent. I do not know what, else, you read, hear or say but the truth is that next year is stuffed with copiousness of goodness for all of us. We must continue to stand for what is right, celebrate judiciously, desist from ruckus and brouhaha for nothing is productive about fracas. We’re also obliged to ensure that the food we eat this season is prepared to prevent illness. Food borne illness is a very serious public health risk and we are all 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. 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.
Some hazards are detrimental to the safety of our food at home or at the Christmas parties. 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 leads to a disease known as Trichinellosis. Cook your food as advised by USDA, FSIS. Make sure your meat and poultry have reached a safe minimum internal temperature; 160 instant for beef, pork, veal, lamb; 165 instant for turkey, chicken, duck, and goose.
Be careful how you manage your dish washing detergents, pesticides or allergens that are used in food preparation. Keep objects like pins, pieces of glass, etc away from food because they can conceal themselves in food and consequently hurt a person.
It is overly essential that we 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 a person is sick, sneezes or coughs regularly, has an open wound, shows evidence of communicable disease in transmissible stage, you will need a clearance from your doctor or other specialists on when to prepare food.
We must treat raw meat as a carrier of sickness causing organisms. Keep raw meat and poultry apart from foods that won’t be cooked before consumption. Use different cutting boards for meat, poultry, seafood and veggies.
Furthermore, we must Chill leftovers and takeout foods within 2 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 fasted between 40 ºF. and 140 ºF. Merry Christmas.