Living a healthy lifestyle is a must especially now that there’s a pandemic. Drink more water, get enough sleep, exercise, take supplements to boost our immune system, and eat healthy, clean, safe and fresh food.
This dry season, aside from the virus, what we need to watch out for is food poisoning or food contamination. According to DOH, the rate of food poisoning in the summer months increase due to warm temperature that favors the multiplication of microorganism. Because of this, we need to make sure that what we eat or drink is safe.
Here are some tips on how to keep your food safe and fresh from the summer heat:
Wash Your Hands and Food
Proper hand washing is important before, during, and after handling food. Washing hands frequently with soap and water will prevent spreading of germs or cross-contamination in other food and things in your kitchen.
Drying your hands after handwashing is equally important as your wet hands can also spread germs.
All fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly then dry them before storing. If they are labeled “pre-washed”, you may not wash them again.
It is recommended to not wash raw meat, poultry, and eggs that are bought in the supermarket to avoid spreading harmful germs around the kitchen.
Personally, if I bought our meat in the wet market I still wash it before storing. I just make sure to lessen the water that will splash and clean the kitchen properly right after.
Prepare Raw and Cooked Food Separately
Keep eggs, raw meat, fruits, vegetables, and other raw food separate from all other foods when grocery shopping, preparing the food, or even in storage to avoid contamination. Make sure to put raw meat and fish in a separate sealed container.
You should use separate cutting boards when preparing raw and cooked food. Kitchen surfaces, countertops, and other kitchen utensils must be cleaned and sanitized as well. Raw food carries bacteria that can contaminate the cooked food and this can be harmful when ingested without cooking it again.
Cook Food Thoroughly
Cook your food properly and thoroughly to kill the bacteria that can make you sick. If you are not sure if it’s cooked enough, cut the food/meat through the middle to check.
Foods like meat, egg, fish, and poultry, need to be cooked properly to remove/kill most types of food poisoning bacteria.
If you have leftovers that you will not eat within two hours, it is best to store the food in the fridge. If you don’t have one, buy a refrigerator! It will help you keep your food safe and fresh for longer. You can also freeze a cooked food and eat it a later date.
All leftovers that are not properly stored should be reheated and consumed right after. I have this rule for leftovers, “If in doubt, just throw out.” I will not risk it especially I have a child at home.
Please note that diarrhea, excessive nausea, vomiting, and high body temperature are some symptoms of food poisoning. If you are experiencing these, please consult your doctor.