Sunday, September 19
12:02 PM

Food safety at home

2 Feb 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that there is very low risk of getting COVID-19 from food and packaging or treated drinking water. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or consuming food is associated with COVID-19.

It is important to note that the risk of getting COVID-19 from food you cook yourself or from handling and consuming food from restaurants and takeout or drive-thru meals is thought to be very low. Also, the risk of infection by the virus from food products, food packaging, or bags is thought to be very low as no cases of COVID-19 have been identified where infection was said to have occurred by touching food, food packaging, or shopping bags.

However, one needs to exercise some caution while handling packaged food:

  • When unpacking groceries, refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and other perishables within 2 hours of purchasing.
  • Do not use disinfectants designed for hard surfaces, such as bleach or ammonia, on food packaged in cardboard or plastic wrap. 
  • If reusable cloth bags become soiled, washing them well and dry them on the warmest appropriate setting. 
  • Do not wash fresh produce with soap, bleach, sanitiser, alcohol, disinfectant or any other chemical. Gently rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under cold, running tap water. 
  • Scrub uncut firm produce (potatoes, cucumbers, melons) with a clean brush, even if you don’t plan to eat the peel. 
  • Salt, pepper, vinegar, lemon juice, and lime juice have not been shown to be effective at removing germs on produce. 

 

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Four steps to food safety

 

Clean

Wash your hands and clean kitchen surfaces often..

Wash utensils, cutting boards and countertops with hot soapy water.

Separate

Don’t cross-contaminate – Always keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, eggs separate, in shopping bags as well as in the fridge.

Use separate cutting boards for meat/poultry/seafood.

Cook

Always cook each food item to the appropriate temperature to kill germs.

Use a food thermometer or check colour/texture of cooked food.

Chill

Promptly refrigerate suitable foodstuff below 5° C, once you are back from the market as bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature.

Always thaw food in cold water or in a microwave. Never do so on the counter, as bacteria multiply fast in parts that reach room temperature.

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