Make food safe again | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 06, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 06, 2019

A note on nutrition

Make food safe again

Eid-ul-Azha is just around the horizon. However, preservatives, various additives, tainted animal feed, and antibiotics have been inundated in the news, making people think twice about what’s on their plates on this holy occasion. Antibiotics are widely used in animal agriculture to treat disease and promote growth. Excessive antibiotic use can increase bacterial resistance, making antibiotics less effective for both animals and humans. If an animal is carrying antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it can be passed on through meat that is not handled or cooked properly. We can also encounter these bacteria by consuming food crops that have been sprayed with fertilisers containing animal manure with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. While food safety controls are being tweaked, here are some tips to making our food safer, from the market to the table.

• Wash cutting boards: They shouldn’t have any cracks and crevices where bacteria can lurk. Countertops, refrigerators, pots, and utensils need to be regularly cleaned with hot, soapy water, especially after they have been in contact with raw meat, poultry, and seafood. Use different cutting boards to prepare raw meat and any food that will be eaten without cooking.

• Wash thoroughly after cutting meat, fish or poultry properly with running water and soak in lukewarm water for at least 40 minutes, which will remove a good portion of the antibiotics, preservatives or any additional toxins.

• Cooking meat to the proper temperature should kill any harmful bacteria.

• At the grocery store, bag fresh fruits and vegetables separately from meat, poultry, and seafood products.

• Bring an ice chest to keep frozen or perishable items if it will take more than an hour to get those items home.

• Sponges and dishcloths can house bacteria, so wash them weekly in hot water in the washing machine.

•  Refrigerate frozen and perishable items as soon as possible. Set the refrigerator temperature to 40° F, set the freezer to 0 ° F. Store leftovers safely. Refrigerate leftovers in tight containers as soon as possible and use them within three days.

• Before handling food, lather up with soap and hot water, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Repeat after handling produce, meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs.

• Wash fruits and vegetables in running water. A small scrub brush may help, but doesn’t use soap or other detergents to wash produce.

• Thaw food in the refrigerator, and not on the countertop. It may take longer, but it’s safer.

• Eating locally grown food is becoming more popular, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safer than supermarket produce. Select fresh produce that isn’t bruised or damaged. Check that eggs aren’t cracked. Look for a clean meat or fish counter and a clean salad bar. Don’t buy bulging or dented cans, cracked jars, or jars with loose or bulging lids.

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