Preparing and Storing Food Safely
Food prepared in the home is one of the primary causes of food poisoning. Food poisoning happens when food comes in contact with bacteria. Bacteria grow best in warm, high protein, moist food such as eggs, dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish. Common symptoms of food poisoning are diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fever, sometimes blood or pus in the stools, headache, vomiting, and severe exhaustion. However, symptoms will vary according to the type of bacteria and by the amount of contaminated food eaten. Because of the changes that occur to our immune and digestive systems as we age, older adults are at a higher risk of developing severe or life-threatening foodborne illness.
Many simple precautions can be taken to avoid foodborne illnesses:
· Look for "Best Before” dates and pick the latest date possible.
· Refrigerate perishables promptly and keep well wrapped.
· Use and label sturdy airtight containers and wraps for freezing foods.
· Wash vegetables and fruit before eating.
· Keep hands and work surfaces clean.
· Thaw meat, poultry and fish in the fridge or microwave and cook thoroughly.
· Wash utensils/cutting boards used for raw meat, poultry or fish.
· Avoid contact between cooked food and raw meat, poultry or fish.
· Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot until mealtime.
· Discard leaky/dented cans and glass jars that don’t "pop".
· Discard jams, syrups, cheeses and yogurts that have mould.