Strolling through the supermarket, it’s hard to imagine anything dangerous lurking around. Your produce might look clean, tempting you to skip washing it. In the rush of preparing dinner, it can seem easier to use the same knife to cut the lettuce for salad and the raw chicken. These seemingly harmless mistakes can lead to serious illness.
The Importance of Prevention for Food Safety
Taking steps to ensure that your food is safe throughout the storage, preparation and cooking stages is critical. If you’re not sure if an item or dish is safe to consume, air on the side of caution. Make sure you use these practices to safeguard against contaminants:
Harmful bacteria may be present in many places around your kitchen, including your hands, utensils, and countertops. Without thorough cleaning of hands, utensils, and surfaces, you could spread bacteria to your food. It’s equally important to wash fresh fruits and vegetables, even if they claim to be pre-washed.
Even after you’ve cleaned your hands, surfaces and produce, raw meat, seafood, and eggs can still spread bacteria to other foods unless they’re kept separate. For example, setting freshly washed lettuce atop a cutting board recently used to cut raw chicken can cause cross contamination.
Cooked food is safe only after it’s been heated to a temperature adequate to kill harmful bacteria. This varies depending on what kind of food you’re preparing.
Once your food has been cooked, it’s important to properly store leftovers. Bacteria grows slowly in cold temperatures, so it’s important that you chill food promptly. You can also freeze appropriate leftovers to keep them safe and preserved for longer.
Food testing and quality control are crucial in ensuring the safety of consumers. A qPCR test detects pathogens in food, including viruses, bacteria, microorganisms, and a number of parasites. It can also detect food ingredients, which is helpful in identifying ingredient fraud and monitoring unintended contamination of special foods (e.g., peanut-free).
Symptoms of Food Poisoning
Food hazards, such as germs and harmful chemicals, can enter the food supply at any point during growth, processing, or distribution. Most of these dangers can’t be detected in food, either visually or by taste. Within hours or days of consuming contaminated food, you may start to feel nauseous or feverish, and will likely experience vomiting and/or diarrhea. According to the CDC, 48,000 Americans per year suffer from food poisoning, and 3,000 will ultimately die as a result.
Safe Food For Healthy Lives
Safer food will result in healthier lives and less costly health care, as well as a better-prepared food service industry. With proper food and water testing, dangers can be spotted and avoided. For more information about food testing’s vital role in food safety, Contact Us.