Food Safety is incredibly important. The entire month of September is National Food Safety Month, so today we’re going to bring some attention to this important topic. Have you ever gone out to eat and rushed home sick immediately after you finished your meal? Chances are you were a victim of cross-contamination or inadequate food storage. Yuck! Did you know that every year, 1 out of every 10 people become sick due to contaminated food, and 420,000 people die as a result? That’s a big number. But never eating out again is not realistic and you CAN take measures to avoid getting sick while preparing your own healthy food.
Today, we’re going to share a few tips on how to properly store your food and avoid cross-contamination. Contaminated food can cause long-term health problems. The most common symptoms of a foodborne disease are stomach pains, vomiting, and diarrhea. Food contaminated with heavy metals or with naturally occurring toxins can also cause long-term health problems including cancer and neurological disorders (WHO).
Food can spoil due to many different factors — not just time! Food hazards, including germs and chemical contaminants, can enter the food supply at any point from farm to table. Most of these hazards cannot be detected in food when it is purchased or consumed, according to Healthy People. Not all foods have the same shelf life. There are different types of foods that have different time frames before expiration and it’s important to check these at the time of purchase. Always remember to make sure everything is clean — your hands, the food you’re preparing, and the surface on which you’re preparing the food.
It’s also important to switch materials and surfaces when you’re preparing foods that can cross contaminate. For instance, you wouldn’t want to chop an onion with the same knife you used to cube chicken. In addition, foods such as raw meat and eggs can cause major problems.