food bacteria

A lot of deaths and sicknesses are caused by a lack or deficiency of safe food handling and food hygiene. According to WHO, “an estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420 000 die every year.” (read more here)

To reduce the cases of food-borne diseases, it is the responsibility of each person to practice safe food handling and food hygiene. Below are some food hygiene and safety tips, which in turn lead to healthy living:


1. Keep food in a refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F or below to slow the growth of bacteria, and defrost in the microwave oven or refrigerator. Never defrost food by simply leaving them on the counter: as the inner parts of the food might still be defrosting, the outer parts that are already exposed will start to welcome bacteria;

2. Separate cooked food from raw food. Raw meat, poultry, eggs or fish always have bacteria in them. Any contact between raw and cooked food will lead to transfer or the bacteria. Also, use separate cutting boards for raw fish/meat/poultry and cooked food;

3. Do not consume raw milk and cheese that has not been pasteurized for a minimum of 60 days. Raw milk always has bacteria including E-coli in it. Pasteurizing milk exposes the bacteria in it to a level of temperature which the bacteria can not reside in;

4. Wash your hands with soap and lukewarm water for at least 20 seconds often, after touching raw meat, poultry or eggs, and before handling food. Be sure to practice the recommended hand-washing technique by thoroughly scrubbing between fingers to eradicate all bacteria that may be present there. Also, keep your fingernails neatly trimmed so as not to give these bacteria a place to live;

5. Heat leftover food at 165°F to kill all possible bacteria in the food an make the food safe to eat;

6. Cook food thoroughly for up to 140°F;

7. Avoid eating raw meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and fruits and vegetables that have been exposed, except the fruits and vegetables still have their peel or scale intact;

8. Avoid fruits and vegetables with damaged skin;

9. Never eat meat, sliced fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs or poultry that have been left out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. Bacteria tend to grow more quickly under room temperature; 10. Peel all skin of fruits and vegetables if eaten raw;

11. Bottled water is the safer choice for drinking water, but always check the seal to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with; and

12. When the safety of drinking water is in doubt, boil vigorously to kill all bacteria that may be present.
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