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Food Safety

Posted July. 03, 2006 03:28,   


The hot and humid monsoon season is a perfect setting for germs to thrive. How can we prevent food poisoning at home?

First go check the food in your refrigerator. In summer, it is better to cook food in small proportions for each meal than to make large amount at a time.

You cannot kill germs causing food poisoning by freezing food. Don’t preserve the food for long and when you eat, heat up food, even if refrigerated.

Do not cool leftovers especially meat or fish at normal temperatures but put them in the fridge right away.

Make sure to wrap up each food item separately in order to keep germs from spreading. Before trying to preserve boiled and cooled water in the refrigerator, keep clean the bottle by throwing water left in it and disinfecting it in boiling water.

During the monsoon, lower the fridge temperature below five degrees Celsius, in which germs can survive but cannot spread.

Staphylococci, germs causing food poisoning, are usually found in a dishcloth, chopping board, kitchen sink floor, and water pipes. Use antiseptic solution to clean the fridge, kitchen sink, and pipes.

You can disinfect dishcloths per day by heating them for over ten minutes at 100°C, by heating them in a microwave for more than eight minutes, or by leaving them in solution for over half an hour. Dry kitchen cloths in the sun for they are a breeding ground for germs. Germs on wet cloths start to spread within six hours, and multiply by a million times in 12 hours.

The most important is personal hygiene. Washing hands properly can prevent all sorts of infectious diseases by 70 percent such as a pink eye, food poisoning, and colds. Don’t forget to use soap. Germs can be left in hands by 60 percent when unwashed, by 40 percent when washed in water only, and by 20 percent when washed with soap. Make sure to wash your hands upon coming back home, before meals or cooking food, and after using the bathroom.

If you have cuts or inflammation in your hands, do not cook food lest the germs in the hands should poison the food. High humidity and temperatures are the two conditions for germs breeding. Keep your house clean and dry. Once in two to three days, heat and dry the house, and put dehumidifying agents in your wardrobe.

Jin-Han Lee likeday@donga.com