18 September 2007

Food Safety

Foodborne disease remains a signifcant health issue in both developed and developing countries. WHO published the five keys to food safety. Click here to read.

Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook has written quite a few articles on food hygiene which are reproduced here, with her consent ofcourse. Thankyou Susan!

· RULE NUMBER 1 for safe food handling is WASH YOUR HANDS. The germ theory is not a theory anymore; it has been the cornerstone of medicine since its acceptance back in the day of Louis Pasteur (1890s), the Pasteur of “Pasteurized” milk, juice, etc. Germs cause illness and they are spread through contact.

· RULE NUMBER 2 for safe food handling is DO NOT EAT ANYTHING OFF THE FLOOR. That’s right, folks, the 5-Second Rule is a lie. You know, that mischievous little superstition we invoke when we cannot bear the thought of parting with a chocolate cookie that’s fallen to the floor, perhaps the last chewy, gooey cookie in the house. We rationalize that germs can’t possibly contaminate the cookie because it’s only been on the floor for 5 seconds or less. Oh, yes they can and they do. Germs love cookies. They are clingy, needy. They want to live; they need to eat, too.

• Handling raw animal products (meat, poultry, eggs and fish) requires prompt clean up of work surfaces and utensils. You don’t want to be cutting your salad fixings with the same unwashed knife on the same unwashed cutting board that you just used to trim the fat off your steak. This is called cross-contamination and can easily be avoided.

• Clean up means hot, soapy water and a new or freshly sterilized sponge, cloth wipe or paper towel. Rinse the soapy residue well with fresh water. Cleaning means washing away germs as much as it means killing them. Keep several rolls of paper towels on hand; they are convenient and can be disposed of immediately after use.

• Sponges absorb everything & are particularly inviting breeding grounds for germs. Replace them often, but until you do, you can sterilize them with some diluted chlorine bleach in a bowl of water, squeezing under the water to make sure you introduce the bleach into all those dark, dank interior cells. (Please wear latex gloves to protect your hands.) Again, rinse well with fresh water. Bleach is a poison and must be respected.

• Consider plastic cutting boards and stirring spoons rather than wooden ones. Wood is attractive and traditional, but can trap raw juices into its grain, especially as it becomes worn. Wood also requires more careful cleaning since it will warp if exposed to water too long, hastening the very cracks you want to discourage. Though stronger and less porous than wood, plastic will also wear out in time; check your tools periodically for excessive wear and replace as needed.

• Antibacterial soaps and detergents do work, but they are no substitute for hot, soapy water. If you must use them, take extra care to rinse thoroughly with fresh potable (drinkable) water. READ THE LABELS of the cleansers you are using. Many are hazardous to human beings and family pets; directions for their use are clearly stated on the labels and must be followed.

Did you know?
· One bacterium can become 2 in just 15 minutes. This means that within 6 hours, 1 bacterium can multiply to over 16 million. To be harmful, some bacteria need to grow to high levels. Other bacteria can cause illness when they are present in very low numbers. The smell, taste and appearance of food are not good indicators of whether the food will make you sick.

· Meat, seafood, cooked rice, cooked pasta, milk, cheese and eggs are foods that provide ideal conditions for microorganisms to grow.

Some tips.

· Labelling on food package give valuable information on instructions for storage, manufacturing date, use by date, expiry dates, notes for allergy etc. which are to be followed.

· When buying food at the supermarket, buy frozen food last and go straight home. Do not leave food in the car's boot too long where there is no air conditioning.

· Do not buy cans that have swelled or have rust on them.

· Avoid buying potatoes that have green spots on them or are sprouting.

· If the power is off, avoid opening the fridge. Depending upon the kitchen temperature, fridge food can remain cold for 4 to 7 hours.

Asha has, as always given some safety tips at Aroma. Read here.

Off for a short vacation, see you'll soon! :)


Asha said...

YUM YUM Aloo Parathas!:))
Great collection of food safety tips, J! Glad few participataed this time!:)
Have a great time, come back refreshed! Hugs.

Cynthia said...

Aloo parathas are always a favourite.

Roopa said...

aloo paratas looks yum :) wonderfull tips with all nicely written up thanks jo :)

Lotus Reads said...

This Punjabi kudhi just loves her aloo parathas! :)

Have a great time away Jyo and come back soon!

Sharmi said...

nice paratha and very useful tips.

Hima said...

Awesome looking aloo parathas. I am sure there are will be lot of entries for aloo parathas. I am also planning to make some of them.

Padma said...

That looks fabulous, always a lover of Aloo parthas

bee said...

i like sprouting potatoes. put them in the soil and you get more potatoes.

and no, i'm not throwing away a cracker because it fell on the floor. food you dropped on the floor is still safe to eat 30 seconds later.


i think this obsession with germs is promoted by companies selling cleaning products that are more toxic than the blasted germs.

bee said...

the url for the link is:


sra said...

Enjoy your vacation! Not sure if I'll not throw away the stuff that fell on the floor!

Prema Sundar said...

just read abt kajals aloo parathas in Asha blog and u made that too. who woldn't love aloo parathas? my fav too...
thanks for the nice tips.

Susan said...

Thanks, Jyothsna, for promoting Food Safety, and including mine in the mix. I note Bee's comment about the 5-second rule, and have researched other studies that refute the study which Bee supports. Go figure. To each his/her own eats.

Jyothsna said...

Thanks everyone!

Bee and Sra - The view expressed here is Susan's and she as replied to your comment. Bee, I have not checked that link, but frankly I do know that my home is super clean and I'd pick what I've dropped on the floor :)

Vcuisine said...

The paratha is perfect Jyothsna. And the tips are as usual useful. If possible send me some entries for RCI Tamil Festival event. Viji

SeeC said...

Yummy parathas and very useful infos. I have mentioned it in my blog about your safety tips jyothsna. Thanks for the post

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Archana said...

Great parathas and interesting write up. I am enjoying all the writings by you. Great work :).
Keep writing, i will be your regular reader. BTW, i love kerela cusine.