Whether you’re constantly chugging water or munching sandwiches, food and drink safety is important. It’s the stuff that keeps us fuelled every day, but it can also be the stuff that makes us ill.
In fact, studies have shown that there are more than 500,000 cases of food poisoning a year, caused by pathogens. The drink isn’t much better, and plain old tap water can cause illness if not treated properly. So what can you do to protect you and your family?
Luckily, it’s 2016, and the modern age affords us a wealth of tips and tricks. Public health has never been higher, and that’s down to technological advancements as well as safe eating practices. You have to be careful with all forms of food and drink, after all. It can be harmful stuff if not prepared or processed correctly.
How can my food and drink be potentially unsafe?
It’s not a question a lot of people will ask themselves, but it should be. A lot of food you buy off the shelf is ready to eat, and that’s fine, but most of the time we have to prepare it. And that’s where the problems start to creep in.
Dilute pop, for example, can be a nice treat. However, it can be more harmful than you think. It’s packed full of sugar, and people who drink one to two servings a day risk developing diabetes more than those who avoid it. To combat this, adding hefty doses of water can break up that sugar and reduce calorie count.
By Subray Hegde – Wikipedia:Contact us/Photo submission, CC BY 1.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4244577
On the food side of things, those pork steaks you bought may look delicious, but you better cook them properly. Food poisoning can rear its head one or two days after consumption, so you won’t even know if the meat is safe straightaway. The bad thing is, though the meat may look cooked, it may not be. This puts you at risk, and puts other people at risk, as food poisoning can easily spread.
So, here are a few ways you can easily increase food and drink safety. Whether it’s by buying extra equipment or cutting foods out, there’s always more you can be doing!
Appliances and kitchen equipment
Safety often means extra costs, but they can be worth it. In order to protect you and your family, no amount of cash is too high! That being said, many home solutions are cheap, and can provide long lasting safety guarantees.
If you and your family consume a lot of meats, a meat probe thermometer will be a worthwhile investment. This tells you the internal temperature of the piece of meat, and saves you guessing if it’s safe or not! As the name implies, you can use it just as you would a standard thermometer.
For the heavy water drinkers out there, a Berkey water filter will be of use. You can never tell how clean tap water is, and a filter will help purify it quickly. Speaking of tap water, there are a number of clever tricks to lower its potential bacteria count. Boiling water can kill some bacteria to a certain extent, but isn’t a surefire victory for you. Those that drink a lot of tea and coffee are in luck, as the frequent hot water consumption can contribute to good overall health.
General kitchen health and safety rules
Chuck old appliances away!
Old microwaves and ovens may not cook your food properly. This is also true if they’re heavily damaged and in need of repair. You may be saving money by keeping it, but is it worth the risk? Consider an upgrade if necessary. Having up-to-date appliances can also help you make food last longer.
Thoroughly clean all surfaces that have touched raw meat
Raw meat comes with a risk of disease through ingesting pathogens, and that extends to your surfaces. Thoroughly clean and wipe down any surface that has touched raw meat, multiple times. Don’t just rinse it with water. Use heavy doses of soap and washing up liquid.
Similarly, clean your hands in hot soapy water for at least twenty seconds. Over half the cases of foodborne illness could be eliminated by hand washing, so make sure you do so.
Don’t store alcoholic drinks in direct sunlight
Just as you wouldn’t want a warm glass of water, drinking a cold beer or spirit can taste horrible. It’s not just the taste that can be affected, though. The actual drink itself can be damaged if left in the sun for too long.
Whiskey and other spirits can lose their color and receive damage if left in the warmth too long. Alcohol fails to replenish your water stores as it is, so don’t make yourself even more dehydrated with the stuff.
Reduce the number of errors you accidentally make
Look; it can be hard cooking for a family of four after a hard day at work. Your heart may not be in it, and you may start to make mistakes. That being said, it’s vital you concentrate on the cooking and preparation process. It can save you and your family from a potential illness.
Similarly, if you yourself are ill, don’t risk it. You may feel fine, but those pathogens could still creep into that food somehow. Enlist the help of your partner or children, or order a takeout meal. That may cost you slightly more, but you won’t make anybody ill in the process. Time is money, and time spent being ill means no work can be done.
So, there you have it! That’s a quick little guide to improving food and drink safety. Most of it comes down to common sense and general best practices, but sometimes we neglect them. People don’t give enough credit to food safety, but it’s arguably the most important area of any kitchen. Not only can it protect you, it can protect other people, and therein lies the incentive to be safe.