A scientific approach to handling, preparing, and storing food that explains how to prevent sickness is known as food safety. Unsafe food implies that the food may be rotten and exposed to germs or dirt, leading to infection due to microbial activities. The diseases caused by food are unsafe results may be life-threatening. Individuals who consume unsafe food tend to have physical and mental issues such that they may be weak or have difficulties in their daily activities. Some of the infection that results from the consumption of unsafe food makes it challenging for the human body to absorb nutrients that are useful in making one healthy.
Some practices must be observed to avoid any possible health hazards. According to WHO, approximately 600 million, nearly 1 in 10 people in the world, get sick upon consuming contaminated food, and 420,000 die annually, leading to the loss of 33 million good health ages (“Food safety,” 2022). US$ 110 billion is lost annually in performance and health treatment due to unsafe food in advancing and advanced nations (Food Safety, 2022). With 125,000 deaths annually from food-borne illnesses, youngsters under five suffer 40% of the incidence (“Food safety,” 2022). These statistics show that food safety is a critical problem requiring significant attention from the government and policymakers.
Commonly harmful food-borne pathogens include Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, and E. coli as bacteria; Giardia, and Trichinella as parasites; and Hepatitis A and Norovirus as viruses. The most prevalent infections include bacterial, viral, mold, and fungi. Microorganisms can use food as a replication and growth media. Other causes of hazards in food are chemicals such as chemical toxins and heavy metals and physical hazards, mainly foreign matters such as glass, stones, and insects. Although less advanced nations have fewer rules and fewer regulations of those standards, developed countries have sophisticated food preparation regulations.
Food Contamination in Home Kitchen
Home kitchens have a tremendous potential to serve as microorganism breeders due to the ongoing infusion of new microbial cells, for example, through food handling and physical body interaction with household surfaces. The adaptability of the biotic and abiotic factors, such as dampness and the supply of nutrients, will then contribute to these microorganisms’ colonization (Richman et al., 2022). The kitchen has a high risk of introducing a variety of microorganisms that can contaminate food, proliferate, and cause an infection:
- Cross-contamination– The main risk comes from raw foodstuffs, which can contain microorganisms that are eliminated by cooking but can migrate to other foods when they are uncooked.
- Personal hygiene-Microorganisms from infected persons who handle the foodstuff can be spread to it by poor hand washing.
- Poor storage and temperature-common method of contaminating food is improper food maintenance, preservation, and culinary temperatures. Almost all types of microorganisms thrive on food when it is inappropriately refrigerated or frozen at unsuitable temperatures.
- Animal feces-Ultimately, animal feces can also result in food contamination. Several different types of food-borne bacteria can be found in healthy farm animals.
- Pests and rodents– Pests, cockroaches, flies, and rodents can spread microorganisms from one surface to another to cause food-borne illnesses.
Self Purchasing Practices
The first approach to supplying healthy and safe household food entails food shopping. Food must be appropriately chosen, packaged, and delivered from the market to the home to ensure its safety (Fadhillah et al., 2021). The following strategies are used to shop safely.
- Considering Sanitation
- Verify the food’s hygiene, and only purchase it from trustworthy vendors who adhere to food safety standards.
- Use the hand disinfectant at the chain’s entryway if one is accessible, and also make sure the shopping trolley handles are clean.
- Rinsing hands thoroughly after handling food. Carrying moist wet wipes or a container of hand sanitizer for use before tasting any items.
- Wash the recyclable shopping bags frequently if they are utilized them.
- Purchase in Sequential Manner
- First, purchase non-perishable supplies
- Gourmet meats should be kept in the shopping trolley close to the various cold foodstuffs.
- Place fresh produce in the shopping trolley on the upper edge of other items.
- Pay attention to expiry dates.
- To avoid purchasing fruits and veggies that have been hanging out the entire day, visit the local markets earlier.
- To have complete leverage regarding the foodstuffs one chooses, consider raw vegetables rather than packed ones.
- Avoid buying produce that has significant scratches, blemishes, or mildew growth.
- Consider purchasing approximately what you will require for the upcoming week.
- Preferably purchase pasteurized beverages that have been chilled.
- Examine Food Packaging
Food packaging must be free of leaks, scratches, or openings. Frozen foodstuffs must be firm and show no evidence of melting. Foods stored in the refrigerator must remain chilly. Verify the safety sealing. A container with a loose top indicates that the compressed air has been released, and the content may well be compromised. Never purchase a foodstuff whose sealing appears to have been interfered with or broken. Inform the shop assistant of a broken seal. Avoid purchasing those canisters that have defects on the tops or side seams, swelling, or rusting.
Secure the supplies as soon as you get them home. If one must conduct errands and be gone for more than half an hour, carry a cooler with a chilling package for perishables (Lange, 2017). On a normal return journey from shopping, the refrigeration temperature can rise by 8 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Foods that need to be kept cold must be done within two hours, but only if the ambient temperature is over 90 degrees. As soon as you return home, immediately put perishable food in the refrigerator or freezer. In the warmer months, avoid storing perishable items in the heated trunk and keep them inside the air-conditioned vehicle.
Self Storage Practices
Cooks frequently strive regularly to preserve food appropriately. The primary objective is to secure the foodstuff from contamination, which may take several forms (Keith, 2022). The storage suggestions provided below can assist in preventing food spoiling and reducing food waste. Foodstuffs that do not have to be refrigerated go in dry storage. This applies to commodities such as dried pasta, cereals, canned goods, and bread. Preventing rats and other insects from contaminating food is a significant concern. This issue should be resolved by maintaining clean, well-maintained floors and walls in addition to an effective pest protection program.
The stand cooler is the most crucial equipment for preserving potentially harmful goods. It can cool hot meals the quickest and maintain a temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit. To properly keep raw animal products, more space is needed. Foods indicated “store in refrigeration” and the majority of products with “use by” dates, such as pasteurized milk, meat, and prepared meals, should be stored in the refrigerator to ensure their safety up until the use by the date specified on the label. The controlled temperature (below 5°C) slows dangerous bacteria’s growth. It is important to practice food rotation in the refrigerator to prevent other food products from expiring without one’s knowledge which may end up being used, leading to illnesses.
In conclusion, checking expiration dates is essential when rotating food to prevent keeping foods that have short expiry dates far from the shelves. This enables one to use the food with a short expiry preventing them from getting spoiled.
Fadhillah, A. A., Hartono, R., & Sujarwo, S. (2021). Safety Food Purchasing Practices Among Urban Households in Gresik City [Doctoral dissertation, Universitas Brawijaya].
Keith, D. (2022). Good Food Storage Practices. Web.
Richman, M., Cooley, S., & Boler, J. (2022). Sources of Contamination in Our Home Kitchen – The Auditor. Web.