Mention “food safety and health” and people either tune out completely or run for the nearest soap dispenser. It is not hard to understand this reaction at all. Most of the time the topic comes up it is because of some food born bacteria have made people sick. Once that happens the media invariably sensationalizes it giving the impression that no food is safe.
In the U.S. we enjoy a very high standard for food safety and health. Such outbreaks, when they do happen, are usually confined to a single product in a specific geographic location defined by the food manufacturer’s distribution area. Rarely are outbreaks nationwide There are several U.S. government agencies that are concerned with food safety and health tasked with preventing just such a thing from happening.
All that being said, however, the twin concerns of food safety and health are something we all, and especially parents, should be aware of and practice at home. What follows here are a few common sense tips on effortlessly practicing food safety and health in your own home.
Fruits and Vegetables Food Safety
• Avoid produce that is bruised or otherwise damaged
• If you buy fresh cut produce such as watermelon, take ones that are packed in ice or are refrigerated.
• Don’t place produce in the same bags with meat or seafood.
• Fruits and vegetables should be stored at temperature not exceeding 40 degrees.
Milk: Pasteurized or Raw?
First, do you know what pasteurization is? It is a process of heating a liquid food product to a certain temperature, holding it there for a specific period of time, and then immediately cooling it. The benefit is that pasteurization greatly reduces spoilage because of microbial growth within the food.
Pasteurization is not sterilization! After being pasteurized, there are still micro-organisms present but the amount of pathogens is greatly reduced and not likely to cause disease.
Proponents of raw milk think that this process somehow reduces milk’s nutritional content and will cause either allergic reactions or lactose intolerance by itself. For people who are sensitive to milk proteins have poor reactions to both raw and pasteurized milk.
The bottom line is, if you drink raw milk, you are drinking pathogens that can cause diseases such as Salmonella, E.Coli, and Listeria. Our advice is to stick with pasteurized milk.
If you would like to read more about potential dangers of raw dairy products, follow this link to the latest CDC report on raw daily products disease outbreaks.
Finally, there are some obvious food safety steps to follow all the time:
• Wash your hands frequently, especially when handling food. If in doubt, wash them again!
• Make sure to also wash the backs of your hands, up to the wrists, between the fingers and under your nails.
• Wash your hands again after switching tasks
• You need to wash for a MINIMUM of 20-30 seconds
• Wash utensils in hot, soapy water.
• Wipe down ALL your kitchen surfaces (appliances, cutting boards, counters with hot, soapy water
• If the dish towels or sponges smell, they are contaminated! Replace sponges frequently and wash the towels in the laundry.