The food we eat determines how much nutrition we are getting and how much energy we have. It also contributes to our weight and our emotional state. So, we must eat food that is safe. When food is not sanitary or harbours pathogens, we can become ill and lose nutritional value. Here are a few key ways to protect yourself and your food from bacteria, diseases, and other health issues.
Make Your Home Pest Free
You will eliminate a lot of food contamination by getting rid of pests in the home. Rats, bugs, and other kinds of pests can easily contaminate our food if they are living in your home. They leave their feces everywhere and spread germs very quickly just by coming into contact with your food. Even if you have your food secured well, pests can hang out in your pantry and cupboard and leave germs on the outer packaging.
Get rid of pests in your home by hiring a professional pest removal service and a professional cleaning service that will disinfect your place. These two services can have a huge impact on how bad your pest problem is. Pests won’t want to hang out if there are substances in your home that are toxic to them, nor will they hang around as much if they cannot find food sources.
Take preventative measures when possible, but use pest control methods when necessary to protect your food supply and keep it sanitary and safe.
Sanitize Food Surfaces and Dishes
If you want clean food, you have to think about every surface that the food comes into contact with and ensure they are all clean. We are talking about countertops, of course, but also your fridge shelving, plates, trays, and other dishes. These must be cleaned thoroughly with a disinfecting spray effective enough to kill most germs and bacteria.
Every time you work with one kind of food and then switch over to another kind of food on the same surface, it is best to clean that surface properly first. This is especially true if you are working with raw meats. They can contaminate other foods since they are often harboring bacteria that will only disappear once they are cooked. Clean up any blood and other raw animal components in the sink and on dishes before you use them for anything else.
You also need to be mindful of any surfaces you touch when you are dealing with raw meats, like the fridge handle, stove dials, microwave door, and sink faucet. Any tools or dishes you use on raw meats should be cleaned immediately after use, including knives, cutting boards, and pans that come into contact with raw meat.
These cleanliness techniques will minimize the spread of bacteria and help keep your food sanitary and safe to eat.
Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill
This set of guidelines covers most of the food safety issues in just a few words. Start by making sure all of your food is clean, scrubbing off dirt and debris from fruits and vegetables, cleaning the packaging, and running food through a sieve or other filter to get rid of impurities.
Cleaning dried beans for instance, is important due to the presence of rocks, grass and other debris that tends to get into the bags. Fruits should be washed before you store them or prepare them, as they may have pesticides on the outside. You don’t want those pesticides to come into contact with your dishes or food preparation surfaces.
Separating your food means keeping different kinds of foods apart from one another. When you have foods that were purchased at different times or foods that are not of the same kind (like meats and fruits), you need to keep them apart so that they do not contaminate one another. Once they are cooked together and combined in a dish, then you no longer have to worry about separation, but during the storage and food preparation process, you will want to keep them separate from one another.
Cooking your food will help to kill many germs and bacteria hiding in it, but you have to ensure you cook your food adequately. Meat that is undercooked can be dangerous to eat, as it may still harbor some bacteria.
Undercooked veggies or beans might not be harmful, but high cooking temperatures can be a great way to kill bacteria you don’t even know are there. Even fruits and veggies can harbor pathogens, so make sure you are taking proper precautions and cleaning and cooking your food like you should every time.
The final step is chilling the food, which can refer to keeping it cool while it is in storage or after you have cooked it, and it can refer to freezing food for long storage. Make sure you do not leave food in the fridge past its expiry date, and keep in mind that once food is cooked, it usually has an expiry date of less than a week. How long food is good for in the fridge will depend on how it is prepared, how it is packaged, and what kind of food it is, so keep all of that in mind when determining how long to store it there.
If you follow the guidelines we have listed above and you know how to handle and store different kinds of food, you will be able to avoid most foodborne illnesses. It’s wise to keep abreast of any food recalls, though. Check the news regularly for these, as some of them will likely affect you from time to time. If you aren’t sure if a recall affects you, then it is safer just to assume that it does.
Food safety should be a major priority for you. We hope this article helps you take the necessary precautions and protect yourself and your family better from germs and bacteria that could be hiding in your food.