World Health Day: 5 simple rules to ensure the food you serve your family is safe

World Health Day: 5 simple rules to ensure the food you serve your family is safe

Food safety is important to lead a healthy life. But, is your food safe for consumption?

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Published : April 7, 2015 12:56 PM IST

April 7 is World Health Day and this year s theme is Food Safety.

If you are someone who takes care of what you eat and how safe it is for your health then you probably know that eating food that is prepared hygienically is of utmost importance to avoid falling ill. However, some common practices that you employ in your day-to-day life, like washing cut vegetables, eating fruits without washing them, and storing vegetarian and non-vegetarian food in the same section, increase your risk of food contamination. So, to help you make the best choice when it comes to storing and eating safe and healthy food, here s are some steps you should follow.

Rule#1: Store your grains and pulses the right way

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When stored for long time at room temperature, there is a high possibility that whole grains and pulses might get spoiled. Although these food products have a high shelf life, here are few tips to ensure that these products are safe to eat for a long period.

  • Store grains and pulses in air-tight plastic containers, which are free of chemicals like BPA and glyme.
  • Always buy these food ingredients in small quantities (rather than storing them for a long time).
  • You can add sun-dried neem leaves or dried red chilies in the containers used to store these ingredients to prevent spoilage.
  • Check for adulteration of these grains with small stones, iron filings, and other substances.
  • Wash your pulses or grains thoroughly with water 2 3 times before cooking them.

Rule #2: Store and clean your meat and eggs the right way

Like most people, do you also face a problem in storing meat, cold cuts and eggs the right way? Well, you need to keep in mind that these products are very prone to getting contaminated and thus, extra precautions should be followed to ensure their safety. Here's how you can do that.

  • Always store meat and cold cuts in separate sections in your fridge or the deep freezer.
  • Never store marinated meat for more than two days and also avoid storing meat in preservatives like salt or turmeric as it leads to leaching of toxins from the meat.
  • It is a good idea to store meat in airtight containers and use it within a week.
  • Avoid storing eggs in the refrigerator for a prolonged time, especially during summers as there are chances of spoiling.
  • Also, while buying eggs, you should ensure that they are clean and that its shell is not cracked as it might lead to various health complications. Here's how you can distinguish a healthy egg from a spoilt one.

Rule #3: Ensure your dairy products are refrigerated

Milk and milk products get spoiled easily due to the presence of microorganisms that enter during various stages of milk processing. Although heating the milk and storing it in the refrigerator lowers the chances of bacterial growth, milk products require extra precautions.

  • Cheese can be stored in the refrigerator in their intact form; however, do not store for more than a week in their open form.
  • Store ice-creams, paneer, yogurt and milk in the deep freezer section of the fridge.
  • Always store milk (fresh and already used one) in different containers to prevent spoilage.
  • Never store milk or milk products like curd or buttermilk in a copper vessel as it leads to food contamination. Here are some simple tests to check if your food is adulterated.

Rule#4: Do not eat unwashed fruits

Fruits available in the market are sprayed with pesticides, which if consumed can be harmful for your health. Therefore, it is always a good idea to wash them before consuming them. Apart from this, here are few tips you should follow to ensure you eat healthy food.

  • Never wash fruits and store them in the refrigerator, as this may reduce the shelf life of fruits.
  • Always check that the stickers on fruits are removed before washing them.
  • Avoid eating cut fruits as the chance of contamination is high, along with loss of nutrients.

Rule #5: Cleaning and sorting your vegetables before you cook is essential

It is a common habit for most people to store cut vegetables in order to simplify their household chores. However, not all vegetables can be stored in the cut form as they tend to lose their nutritive value and make them unfit (sticky or soggy) for consumption. Here are few more tips to store vegetables the right way.

  • Avoid storing vegetables such as brinjal, tomatoes and okra after they are cut in the fridge. You can however store except for drumsticks and peas after they have been cut as they can be stored for a long period in a freezer.
  • In the case of leafy vegetables make sure you separate dead or wilted leaves from the fresh ones to prevent spoilage of the entire bunch.
  • Don t wash any vegetable prior to storing them, as it might lead to loss of nutrients and minerals.
  • If not in an airtight container, you can wrap cut vegetables in a moist paper towel, netted pouches or a thin cotton cloth and store them. Also read how to store fresh vegetables so they won t rot.

Image Source: Shutterstock.com

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