According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 600 million people fall ill after eating contaminated food every year with 420 000 dying as a result. Ensuring food is handled and prepared in a safe and hygienic manner can help prevent you and your family from developing harmful foodborne diseases like diarrhoea. Here are four ways to ensure food safety in your own home.

1. Wash away the germs

Always ensure good hygiene when handling any food or cooking utensils. This means ensuring that you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water before and during handling of any food item. Germs can also spread easily between surfaces, therefore all counters that you work on when preparing food must also be cleaned and sanitised regularly. Rinsing your fruits and vegetables in clean water is also highly recommended to wash away any harmful germs.

2. Keep raw and cooked food separate

Raw and cooked food should always be kept apart from one another when cooking. Certain raw food products, like meat, eggs or seafood, contain bacteria that can contaminate cooked food and cause serious illnesses if consumed. Therefore, it is important to ensure that separate cutting boards, utensils and bowls are used to house raw and cooked foods. Alternatively, make sure that you wash and sanitise these utensils thoroughly before you use them to avoid cross contamination.

3. Cook food through completely

To avoid contracting a foodborne illness, always ensure that food is cooked thoroughly. According to the WHO, high risk foods like poultry, eggs or seafood should be cooked until the core temperature of the cooked dish or food reaches at least 70°C. Ensuring that the core temperature is at 70°C or higher makes certain that all germs and bacteria in the dish are killed. If you don’t have a thermometer to measure the core temperature of the prepared dish, ensure that the food is well cooked by assessing the colour or tenderness of the food.

4. Keep food at safe temperatures

Always ensure that food is kept at temperatures below 5°C or above 60°C as the bacteria that can cause food poisoning thrive and multiply faster in temperatures between 5°C and 60°C. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, perishable food, such as meat, seafood, dairy, cut fruit, and some vegetables should be refrigerated within two hours of preparation.

Frozen food should be defrosted either in the refrigerator, cold water or in the microwave. Never defrost any food on the counter as the food can become contaminated with the bacteria on the counter.

Preventing the foodborne illnesses that cause multiple deaths every year can be achieved by taking these steps to ensure that food is prepared and handled in a safe and hygienic manner. Adopting these basic rules in your kitchen can help to ensure that you and your family stay healthy and happy.

If you do suspect that you have contracted a foodborne illness, such as diarrhoea, there are medications available that can help treat your condition and help you get better faster. Tasectan is a clinically proven, safe and effective diarrhoea treatment for you and your family. Find out more here