Be Safe about Your Food
Is it safe to eat anything anymore? There are monthly reports discussing dangers in our food supply that we have been unaware of for years. Food borne illnesses have always been around, but the world has become more aware due to internet access and constant news reports.
On a positive note, once a situation has been identified it is now easier to to trace back to the sources of the contaminants. The problem is, many cases don’t get reported. This can be due to incubation times or the individual who ingests the contaminated food isn’t affected. An individuals size, age, gender, number of organisms ingested, a weakened immune system, certain diseases, medications, or pregnancy can be factors. Symptoms are often confused with the flu.
Most infections are not life threatening but can be unpleasant. The few that are potentially fatal will impact young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with weaker immune systems. Listeria is the third leading cause of food poisoning deaths. Some foods that Listeria is found in are hot dogs, soft cheeses, deli meat, and sprouts. Luncheon meats that are packages are less likely to be contaminated. Eat such foods as soon as possible after they are purchased to prevent Listeria from growing.
Food borne illnesses can also come from fruits and vegetables. Make sure to take the following precautions:
- Wash your hands and sanitize your kitchen prior to prepping food or cooking.
- Sanitize all working surfaces and utensils with soap and water. Then make sure to rinse the surfaces and dry them with a clean dry cloth, paper towel, or let them air-dry.
- Replace dishrags frequently, run sponges through the dishwasher, microwave them, or bleach them daily for one minute.
- Have specific cutting boards for fruits and vegetables.
- Wash all produce, even the “prewashed.”
For more information on food safety visit www.ardenhills.net or www.foodsafety.gov