Published On : Mon, Apr 25th, 2016

Eating Safe Food is in your control…

Food Safety
The major reason for foodborne illnesses like food poisoning and food infections; is the presence and growth of harmful bacteria in food. The microbes be it bacteria, virus, mould or fungus; thrive on food itself and can make the food unfit for consumption. It is not possible that every time you could notice the unsafe food before consumption. Let me tell you in simple words. The food which looks good, smells good and tastes good need not be safe for consumption. The microbes present in unsafe food can create havoc after a few hours or even days after actually consumed. Then how one can be assured what he is eating is safe for him???….

  • The unsafe food normally has the visible unfavourable changes in texture..e.g. daals , rice, pasta, noodles going sticky, small bubbles or foam rising while reheating daals, and curries. Black growth or thread like growth on food items.
  • Typical change in flavor or odour. Common food items are samosa, various chutni, daals and cooked veggies. The unsafe food doesn’t have the desirable flavor or it could smell different than what you know it should.
  • Change in taste. The unsafe food has obvious undesirable taste, which is noticeable most of the time.

It is not always possible to know if the food is completely safe for consumption, but one can always take precaution.

Precautions to be taken at home/ commercial kitchens

  • Eat freshly cooked food as much as possible. It has minimal chances of causing harm.
  • Cooked food should be ideally consumed within four hours if at room temperature ( 18 degree centigrade); especially during summer. During summers/ humid and hot climates avoid certain food items giving in tiffin (If not to be consumed within four hours) – pasta with sauces, items with soft or soggy rice, boiled potato items, and gravies.
  • Store the raw and/or cooked items under refrigeration. That is below 5– 7°C.
  • Cooked food should be kept on upper shelves of refrigerator and covered.
  • Preferably veg and non-veg foods should be kept on separate racks in fridge; to avoid cross contamination.
  • Consume the cooked items stored in refrigerator within 48 hours. After that it could go unsafe inspite of refrigeration. The microbes can live in dormant condition for days and become active when they get favourable situation… that is warmth, and moisture.
  • Discard the left over or cooked food stored under refrigeration after 48 hours. Do not take chances. Food stored in the freezer compartment are safe upto a week if cooked and more than week if sealed. Read the instructions on the sealed packets very carefully.
  • Avoid carrying reheated food items in tiffin which are hold at room temperature for hours.
  • Reheat the cooked and/or refrigerated food only once. Do not store again the reheated food in refrigerated.The chances of such food going unsafe are multiplied. Take out only the portion required or being consumed immediately.
  • Discard the food which looks/smells/tastes different than it should be normally. Never try to save any portion out of the lot.
  • Maintain the efficiency of refrigerator by cleaning and servicing regularly.