It does not take much time and effort to prepare your own meals. It might seem tiring but it is not only healthy and can prevent a host of diseases. For instance, one can always prepare salads or cook food in large batches and store it to consume over the next few days. This can prove useful if you have a big family to feed. You get to prepare healthy food and you know exactly what goes into their food.
There are so many ways to go about preparing your own food. You can do canning at home. Or just opt for vacuum-packed chilled food items and bottled drinks. Whatever you decide to do, there is one thing you need to be sure of when packing or storing food - food safety is of utmost importance.
Why Food Safety Is Crucial?
It’s important to properly pack food because this simple act can prevent you and your family from getting sick due to foodborne illnesses. These kinds of illnesses can be easily prevented if one just takes a few simple steps to pack food.
Plus, it’s even more important for you to properly pack food if there are kids under 4 years of age, elderly adults, or people with immune deficiency in your family. Children under 4 years old are especially susceptible to infections from foodborne microbes such as Salmonella. For the elderly and those with weak immune systems, intestinal pathogens could be fatal. Even if you’re a healthy adult, you still have to be careful with how you handle food because some foodborne illnesses such as those caused by E.coli can wreak havoc on vital organs like the kidney.
For food manufacturers, the problem lies in enforcing food safety rules and complying with food safety standards. If you’re the one doing the food handling and preparation though, the problem usually lies with the failure to make sure that the food is cooked and stored at proper temperature levels, and that the surfaces and storage containers are clean.
Does your daughter love chocolates? Does your son demand a banana for breakfast every day? Unfortunately, some of the foods your children love might soon be on their way to extinction.
Food safety tips:
- Always keep food chilled. There is a “Temperature Danger Zone” for food. It is also called room temperature, and it ranges from 40oF to 140oF. This zone is where microorganisms tend to multiply rapidly.
- Packed food or not, exposure of food items at room temperature can increase the chance of foodborne illness and spoilage. Your main goal is to prevent food from being exposed to this zone for an extended period.
- It is important to follow sanitation. This starts from the moment you prepare your ingredients until you transfer it into containers. Rinse produce under running water before you put them in a cooler. Even those with inedible skins should be thoroughly washed. After washing fruits, dry them using a paper towel.
- Avoid cross-contamination. Raw meat and seafood should always be put in secure and separate containers.
- The cooking area must be clean. All utensils must be washed appropriately, as well as the ingredients to be used. Practice proper hand washing techniques. Your knowledge of the temperature danger zone will be put to waste if your ingredients and utensils are dirty.
- Clean the storage containers inside and out. Be wary of the corner spots that are hard to reach. You could also smell the container to make sure it is free of undesirable odour. This can reduce the possibility of early spoilage of your food and prevent cross-contamination of flavour and aroma.
- When reheating food items, make sure you reheat it thoroughly. Think of it as cooking it all over again. When using a microwave, check if the food is heated thoroughly.
- When using coolers, make sure to keep them closed as much as possible. That way, you could keep the contents colder longer.
Proper packing of food is crucial to avoid foodborne illness. It starts from preparation until the food is packed until it is ready for consumption. It doesn’t hurt to be careful. Not only should you make sure your packed lunch is healthy – it must also be safe to eat.
Claire works as an engineer at Brillopak, a Robot Palletising and Palletisation machine manufacturing company in UK. Apart from designing, Claire loves to blog. You can find her trying out new recipes, playing drums or cheering in stands for Falmer Stadium.
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