Food Safety Strategies are important to maintain quality of food, prevent foodborne illness and ensure nutrient value of the food. Certain tips that can make your food safer, especially in summer when the perishable items are at high risk of spoilage are give below.
Consider your source: Consider your source from where you acquire your food products. Currently eating locally grown food, organic foods are becoming more and more popular. But these do not really mean it's safer or better than your local supermarket. Before you buy food from a local store or vendor ensure that the product used by him is of good and the person has a good repute in the business.
Consideration while buying: When in a supermarket map your route so that you take nonperishable items first, fresh or frozen goods last. This way you can minimizes the time that perishable food items are out of the freezer or refrigerator in your shopping cart. At the supermarket or your local store keep fresh fruits and vegetables separately from meat, poultry, and seafood products. When buying anything especially perishable food items select fresh products. Check the package for damage like if eggs aren't cracked. Buy products that are well before their use by date. Never buy bulging cans, cracked jars, or jars with loose or bulging lids, or products with date almost near expiry. If the weather is hot then buy frozen or perishable items just before going home or use an ice chest to keep frozen or perishable items while taking them home. Do not keep perishable food products specially meat, poultry, and seafood products in the boot of the car which does not have air-conditioning. You can keep them in the back seat where it is cooler because of airconditioning.
Tips on refrigeration
- All perishable, food items must be refrigerated promptly after you bring them home. Perishable product if frozen properly can be used even after the date as freezing keeps almost any food safe for prolonged period, but the tenderness, flavor, aroma, juiciness, and color can be affected. Follow handling recommendations on food product such as stored in a cool, clean, dry place or store below 40C to maintain quality and prevent foodborne illness.
- Refrigerator freezers are not for prolonged storage of any food. The refrigerator freezers should be used for short-term food storage only. Your freezing compartment or freezer should have a thermometer to check the temperature especially if you have power-outs or mechanical problems.
- Regularly check food kept in your refrigerator for expiration dates. If food is past its "use by" date or if the food looks suspicious, discard it. Regularly clean your refrigerator and wipe any spill right away. This helps to reduce the growth of bacteria in your refrigerator.
- Keep the eggs in the refrigerator, rather than in the door, as the temperature in the door is warmer. Always marinate food in the refrigerator as bacteria can grow in food kept at room temperature for marination.
Consideration while food storage: The aim of proper storage in summers or any season is to reduce foodborne illness due to bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and C. botulinum. Storing food item properly in the refrigerator at the recommended temperatures is one of the best ways to prevent or slow the growth of bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and C. botulinum. All perishable foods should be refrigerated or frozen immediately. Never leave foods that need refrigeration more than two hours at room temperature. Make sure your refrigerator temperature is at or below 40° F (4° C) and the freezer temperature is 0° F (-18° C). If a perishable food item was not properly refrigerated, it is advisable to throw it out. The ready-to-eat foods should be used as soon as possible.
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