World Food Safety Day: Essential Tips for Safe and Healthy Food

World Food Safety Day: Essential Tips for Safe and Healthy Food (Photo Source: Pixabay)
World Food Safety Day: Essential Tips for Safe and Healthy Food (Photo Source: Pixabay)

World Food Safety Day, celebrated on June 7th each year, is a vital reminder of the importance of food safety in our daily lives. Ensuring that our meals are healthy and safe is crucial for preventing foodborne diseases and promoting overall well-being. Here are seven essential tips to help you prepare and enjoy meals that are both delicious and safe. Read On

1. Wash Your Hands & Surfaces Regularly

The foundation of food safety starts with cleanliness. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. This simple step can prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. Additionally, ensure that all kitchen surfaces, utensils, and cutting boards are clean. Use hot, soapy water to clean these items, and consider using separate cutting boards for raw meat and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination.

2. Store Food Properly 

Proper storage of food is crucial to prevent spoilage and contamination. Refrigerate perishable items like meat, dairy, and leftovers within two hours of cooking or purchasing. Make sure your refrigerator is set to 40°F (4°C) or below, and your freezer is at 0°F (-18°C) or lower. Store raw meats on the bottom shelf to prevent their juices from dripping onto other foods. Use airtight containers to keep food fresh and prevent contamination from other items in the fridge.

3. Cook Food at the Right Temperature

Cooking food to the correct temperature is essential for killing harmful bacteria. Use a food thermometer to check that your meat, poultry, and seafood are cooked to the safe internal temperatures recommended by the FSSAI. For example, ground meats and poultry both should be cooked to 167°F (75°C) to destroy any harmful bacteria. Leftovers should be reheated to at least 165°F (74°C) to ensure safety.

4.Wash Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables can carry bacteria and pesticides on their surfaces, so it's essential to wash them thoroughly under running water before consumption. Even produce with skins or rinds that are not eaten, like melons and avocados, should be washed to prevent contaminants from transferring to the flesh when cut. Use a brush to scrub firm produce like potatoes and carrots.

5. Avoid Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination occurs when harmful bacteria transfer from one food item to another. To avoid this, use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and ready-to-eat foods. Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from other foods in your grocery cart, shopping bags, and refrigerator. Always wash your hands, cutting boards, and utensils after handling raw meat to prevent the spread of bacteria.

6. Keep Expiration Dates in Mind

Pay attention to expiration dates on food packages and use or discard items accordingly. “Best by” dates indicate when the product will be at its best quality, while “use by” dates are more critical for safety, especially for perishable items. Consuming expired food can increase the risk of foodborne diseases, so it's essential to adhere to these guidelines. When in doubt, it's better to err on the side of caution and discard questionable items.

7. Stay Informed 

Staying informed about food safety practices and updates can significantly reduce the risk of foodborne diseases. Regularly check for recalls and safety alerts from trusted sources like FSSAI. Educate yourself and your family about safe food handling practices to create a culture of safety in your home. Attending workshops or taking online courses on food safety can also be beneficial.

World Food Safety Day serves as an important reminder that we all have a role to play in ensuring the safety of the food we consume. By following these seven essential tips—washing hands and surfaces, properly storing food, cooking to the right temperature, avoiding cross-contamination, washing fruits and vegetables, being mindful of expiration dates, and staying informed—you can significantly reduce the risk of foodborne diseases and enjoy healthier, safer meals. Let's make food safety a priority every day, not just on World Food Safety Day.

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