Protect Yourself From Foodborne Illnesses

Protect yourself from foodborne illnesses.

The Department of Health (DOH) recommends adherence to the World Health Organization’s  Five Keys to Safer Food in the fight against foodborne diseases like salmonella and listeriosis. These diseases can be deadly especially to children.

Health care in the Philippines is getting expensive every year. Protecting yourself
from diseases will save you a lot of money in health care.

Protect yourself from foodborne illnesses
Protect yourself from foodborne illnesses : Image Owner: WHO

Here are 5 Keys to protect yourself and your family from foodborne illnesses:

  1. Keep clean
  2. Separate raw and cooked
  3. Cook thoroughly
  4. Keep food at safe temperatures
  5. Use safe water and raw materials

Keep clean

  • Wash your hands before handling food and often during food preparation
  • Wash your hands after going to the toilet
  • Wash and sanitize all surfaces and equipment used for food preparation
  • Protect kitchen areas and food from insects, pests and other animals

While most micro organisms do not cause disease, dangerous microorganisms are widely found in soil,water,animals and people. These microorganisms are carried on hands,wiping cloths and utensils, especially cutting boards and the slightest contact can transfer  them to food and cause foodborne diseases.

Separate raw and cooked

  • Separate raw meat,poultry and seafood from other foods
  • Use separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cutting boards for handling raw foods
  • Store in containers to avoid contact between raw and prepared foods

Raw food,especially meat,poultry and seafood and their juices, can contain dangerous
microorganisms which may be transferred onto other foods during food preparation
and storage.

Cook thoroughly

  • Cook food thoroughly, especially meat,poultry ,eggs and seafood
  • Bring foods like soups and stews to boiling to make sure that they have reached 70C
  • For meat and poultry, make sure that juices are clear,not pink. Ideally, use a
  • Reheat cooked food thoroughly

Proper cooking kills almost all dangerous microorganisms.Studies have shown that    cooking food to a temperature of 70C can help ensure it is safe for consumption.           Foods that require special attention include minced meat,rolled roast,large joints of meat and whole poultry.

Keep food at safe temperatures

  • Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours
  • Refrigerate promptly all cooked food and perishable food (preferably below 5C)
  • Keep cooked food piping hot (more than 60C) prior to serving
  • Do not store food too long even in the refrigerator
  • Do not thaw frozen food at room temperature

Microorganism can multiply very quickly if food is stored at room temperature.By holding
at temperatures below 5C or above 60C, the growth of microorganisms is slowed down or
stopped.Some dangerous microorganisms still grow below 5C.

Use safe water and raw materials

  • Use safe water or treat it to make it safe
  • Select fresh and wholesome foods
  • Choose foods processed for safety,such as pasteurized milk
  • Wash fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw
  • Do not use food beyond its expiry date

Raw materials,including water and ice,may be contaminated with dangerous  microorganisms and chemicals. Toxic chemicals may be formed in damaged and          mouldy foods. Care in selection of raw materials and simple measures such as           washing and peeling may reduce the  risk.

Lack of clean water and poor hygiene habits contribute significantly to child ailments
that cause Filipino children to miss school.

Remember that knowledge equals prevention.

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