Five actions to keep your food safe

Contamination of food and drink is the cause of more than 200 diseases. The good news is that most of them are avoidable with simple handling and storage actions.

A colorful plate of food with a diversity of food groups is the starting point for a healthier life. But the solution can become a health and economic problem if these foods are not handled properly at all stages of this chain. This is the warning that is issued every June 7th, World Food Safety Day.

Unsafe foods, those unfit for consumption because they are contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances (heavy metals), are the cause of more than 200 diseases and contribute to the development of other conditions that harm health. We are talking about growth and development problems, micronutrient deficiencies, communicable and non-communicable diseases and mental illnesses.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), one in ten people in the world is affected by foodborne illnesses every year. According to World Health Organization (WHO), here on the American continent 77 million people suffer from foodborne illnesses and more than 9,000 die for this reason. That's it for a year! Of the total number of patients, 31 million are under 5 years of age, of which more than 2,000 die.

The good news is that most of these diseases (and the statistics) are preventable. But, to achieve this, the engagement of governments, food companies, educational institutions and offices and us, the consumers, is necessary. As the UN body highlights, 

Check out five actions that everyone can do below to ensure the safety of the food that goes on their plate.

Clean, always

Hands must be taken before and during preparation and always after going to the bathroom.

What must also be washed and disinfected is the surface and equipment that will be used to prepare food.

Always protect food from insects, pests and other animals.

friendly water

Washing means using water, but it cannot be just any water. Use clean water or treat it so that it is a safe source for cleaning. When going to the fair or going to the Marketplace, select safe and fresh foods and then wash them, especially if they are consumed in nature. If you can, choose already processed foods, such as pasteurized milk.

Raw and cooked foods, each in its own way

Avoid contact between raw and cooked foods. This means using different containers and tools (cutlery and cutting boards) for each type of food.

Cook. Boil. Reheat

Meat, chicken, eggs and fish must be cooked completely. Foods like soups and sautéed dishes must be boiled to reach a temperature of 70°C (and thus eliminate most microorganisms that can be harmful to our health). And if you're going to eat cooked food again, reheat it.

Right temperature

Cooked food should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours. They must be kept warm, above 60°C, until served.

Food that has been cooked or that is perishable must be refrigerated, preferably at a temperature below 5°C. And if you're going to defrost something, don't do it at room temperature.

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