The presence of unwanted materials or substances in food that may harm your health is referred to as food contamination. Food contamination is a worldwide issue that has a significant impact on all other industries. Depending on the type of food contaminant present, the presence of unwanted substances in food can result in foodborne illnesses and other related injuries. As someone who enjoys food and enjoys cooking, it is best to learn the different methods how to prevent food contamination especially in the comforts of our own home.
Did you know that, in addition to bacteria, the rapidly escalating climate crisis has an impact on food safety?
Climate change is already happening in the Philippines, which ranks second out of 135 countries in the world in terms of being most affected by climate change impacts in 2020, according to the Global Climate Risk Index. According to the evidence, the change cannot be explained solely by natural variation. The most recent scientific assessments have confirmed that the observed warming of the climate system since the mid-twentieth century is most likely due to human activities such as fossil fuel combustion and land use change. Current warming is posing significant challenges to man and the environment and will do so in the future. Temperature, precipitation, and other environmental factors are expected to influence the geographic distribution and persistence of food-borne illnesses.
Read also: 8 Food storage tips to make food last longer
How to prevent food contamination?
1. When you go grocery shopping, Avoid cross-contamination.
When you go grocery shopping, prepare, cook, or pack food, pay close attention to how you separate foods. Cross-contamination can be caused or avoided depending on how you separate foods.
- Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from other foods in your grocery cart.
- Place these foods in plastic bags to keep juices from dripping onto other foods.
- Separate these foods from other foods at the checkout and in your grocery bags.
- When storing food in the refrigerator:
- Store raw meat, poultry, and seafood in containers or sealed plastic bags to keep juices from dripping onto other foods. Raw juices frequently contain pathogenic bacteria.
2. When preparing food, Prepare food in a clean and sanitary manner.
Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and end up on utensils. To avoid this, follow these steps on how to prevent food contamination in a sanitary manner:
- Wash hands with soap and hot water before and after handling food, as well as after using the restroom, changing diapers, or handling pets.
- Wipe up spills or kitchen surfaces with hot, soapy water and paper towels or clean cloths.
- Wash cutting boards, dishes, and countertops in hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before moving on to the next. Use a clean cutting board at all times. Use one cutting board for fresh produce and another for raw meat, poultry, and seafood if possible. When cutting boards become excessively worn or develop difficult-to-clean grooves, they should be replaced.
- Always marinate food in the refrigerator rather than on the counter. Sauces used to marinate raw meat, poultry, or seafood should not be used on cooked foods unless they are boiled immediately before use.
- To remove visible dirt and grime, rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water. Remove and discard the outermost lettuce or cabbage leaves. Because bacteria can thrive on the cut surface of fruit and vegetables, take care not to contaminate them while slicing them up on the cutting board, and avoid leaving cut produce out at room temperature for long periods.
3. Cooking to the right temperature.
When cooking food, a tip on how to prevent food contamination is to aim for an internal temperature of 75 °C or higher. Most food poisoning bacteria are killed by heating foods to this temperature. Check the internal temperature of foods with a thermometer during the cooking process.
- Cook at a specific temperature until the food is thoroughly cooked.
- Cook food to the proper temperature of 75 degrees Celsius or higher. The high temperature kills bacteria and prevents them from spreading.
4. When serving food, keep it as clean as possible.
- Always start with a clean plate.
- Cooked food should never be placed on the same plate or cutting board that previously held raw food.
5. You consume food after it has been cooked.
- Bacteria can grow on cooked food in just 2 hours when left at room temperature. If you want to keep cooked food, put it in the refrigerator within an hour of cooking. Reheat food before serving. There are numerous factors to consider when determining whether contaminated food is safe to consume. Cooking contaminated food kills the bacteria, but only to a point.
Food contamination can happen anywhere along the food supply chain. Certain points of the supply chain can be easily penetrated and cause a widespread foodborne illness outbreak if proper preventive measures are not taken. The consequences of food contamination cannot be overstated. Some food contaminants can be harmful to one’s health and even cause death. And if you like food, you’d want all kinds of food contaminants out of your food or even at your home.
As previously stated above how to prevent food contamination, food contamination occurs in a variety of ways, beginning with food production and ending with food consumption. Symptoms of contaminated food include dizziness, stomach pain, and diarrhea. We don’t want to go through this, but we also don’t want to waste our food budget. You might think that throwing out food as soon as you discover it is contaminated is a waste of a lot of food. Continuing to serve food that may cause foodborne illnesses may also pose a significant risk. When food contamination occurs, one solution comes to mind, but many people are unsure whether it is safe.
Keeping food safe, though often overlooked, plays a significant role in the sustainability and growth of any nation’s economy. This massive task has been placed on the shoulders of food service providers in the food industry. Food must always be safe because it is a major source of energy and nutrition. As a result, it is every food handler’s responsibility to take the best approach to food safety.
At Bria Homes, we encourage everyone to keep their living spaces clean as well as their food clean by providing articles such as this one on how to prevent food contamination. For example, all BRIA communities’ common areas are routinely cleaned and disinfected to protect homeowners from all risks of virus exposure. Compliance with the enhanced community quarantine is ensured because BRIA communities have guarded entrance and exit gates. Only BRIA residents are permitted to enter and exit the developments. Bria Homes is primed to bring quality and affordable house and lot packages and condominium units closer to ordinary Filipino families. This is the goal that drives every single employee in the company, for which the ultimate fulfillment is seeing a client happily moving into BRIA’s homes.
Written by Mark Anthony Seña