Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Food Safety Principles and Practices

Food safety principles & Practices:

Health and wellness depends on biologically clean (free from chemicals like pesticides/insecticides, heavy metals, insects & microbes) food. The chemicals and toxins are unfortunately have become part of our routine consumable diet. Human eatable food chain is mostly affected by these hazards. 

Certain heavy metals present in the food may penetrate deep inside body with regular consumption
over the period of time. They might affect immune system, can be cause for cancers, impair nervous system function and can cause genetic abnormalities.
Water sources in absence of water treatment facilities get affected by hazardous chemicals like DDT, pesticides/insecticides/heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium; which further contaminate the crop cultivation soil. These hazards embed deep into the cells of consumable vegetables, fruits, cereals and pulses.

Chemical treatments is usually done to save crop from insects/worms which otherwise can be done by means of organic farming. Micro organisms like bacteria, virus, and cysts present on eatable fruits/vegetables/crops can be destroyed by cooking at high-temperatures.

With some awareness on our part, we can at least minimize the hazards by applying basic food safety mechanisms while handling them such as food selection from authentic origin, proper food processing, food items storage etc.

Pick right & healthy Food:

While purchasing any food item one should try & Check for its source (organic or chemically treated), harvesting methods adopted, mode of transportation etc. By doing this we can save our families from food-borne diseases.

Precautions that should be taken care of while food selection:
- Prefer to buy milk and related products that have been taken from healthy livestock with good movements.
http://www.divyagarbhsanskar.com/- Prefer to buy Poultry products from hygienically healthy animal farms.
- Prefer to purchase fresh, seasonal organically cultivated vegetables & fruits. Prefer to buy food from reputable producers or retailers, with a known record for safe handling. Select dated products as far as possible whose date has not expired. Make sure before purchase that these foods has been kept at the proper temperature during storage and handling.
- Prefer to avoid food items that have grown on crop fields that are irrigated with polluted or sewage water sources.
- Prefer to buy cereals & pulses from organic farming origins.
- Pick products labeled “keep refrigerated” only if they have been stored in a refrigerated box. Packages of precooked foods should not be torn or damaged at the time of purchase.

Food items storage:

Proper food storage helps to preserve the quality and nutritional value of the foods and prevents spoilage. It further can prevent food borne illnesses caused by harmful bacteria. Our storage system should support food items to keep them fresh, consumable, maintain nutritive value, taste & to give protection against attacks by microbes/insects.

Food items spoilage signs that make food unpalatable but not a bacterial hazard are the rancid odor caused by oxidation and the fermentation of fruit juices due to yeast growth. Off-odors in foods and a sour taste in bland foods can indicate dangerous bacterial spoilage. Food can be high in bacteria count even without such signals.

Food storage tips:
- Before cold storing vegetables/fruits do wash them thoroughly in water flow and then soak for about half an hour in salt water.
- Consume short shelf life vegetables such as green-leaf and fruits like banana, grapes etc. as early as possible.
- Use air-tight boxes to keep cereals & pulses to prevent them from flies and insects.
- Separate poultry/thaw food items from other food items while cold storage.
- Maintaining a clean refrigerator and freezer. Avoid over crowding the refrigerator. Arrange items such that cold air can circulate & affect each food item. Use freezer wrap,freezer-quality plastic bags, or aluminum foil on poultry that will be stored in the freezer for more than one month.

Cooking Food; keeping in mind Food Safety: 

- Fruits and vegetables should be washed in clean running water to remove surface dirt, chemicals and microbes.
- Soaking cereals, pulses and beans in clean water for half an hour before cooking them. This helps to initiate enzymatic activity, increases their nutritive value, digestibility and decreases cooking time/energy.
- Vegetables's fresh peel have lots of nutrients and fiber in it that should be cooked immediately after cutting them.
- Employ clean utensils to cook food preferably under steam pressure. This preserves food items of their nutrients value.
- Avoid deep frying at higher temperatures because that may converts unsaturated oil to more saturated Trans fats. 

For safe frying
- Use oils with low saturated fats like olive or soybean.
- Use low quantity oil and never reuse it. If frying requires more oil, then add fresh oil gradually as per requirement. 
- Keep constant appropriate temperature before putting food items for frying. Stir constantly while frying.
- Correctly Regulate the temperature of the oil as carefully as possible, avoiding hot spots and high flames.
- Frying at too low a temperature causes excessive absorption of oil by the food and the ultimately by the consumer.
- Opt the correct food to oil / fat ratio. Ideal is to fry 1 part of food in 6 parts of oil.
- Do not over fill fryers as the oil will expand when get heated and may immersed which increases the risk of burns.
- Once melted, the solid fat can be heat treated at normal frying temperature.
- Ensure that the food should be dry before frying. Wet foods breaks the oil create froth which is unsafe and wasteful.
- Clean the fryer from oil & food debris from utensils once cooking is over.


Food during Pregnancy:

It is important to learn about the type of food to be taken during pregnancy. We should learn about what not to eat & contradictions of food. We ought to know which food is not to be taken during pregnancy. There are certain types of food which make our blood impure and are the cause of abortion. Choice of wrong food will leave wrong impact on the developing fetus. There are few common things that we know. Like, taking clear butter with equal amount of honey will be harmful to eat. There are several food combinations that are not good for mother and the fetus. For example, Green leafy vegetables and milk are good to have separately. But they are very harmful when consumed together. Wrong food habits will always lead us to health problems. Lot of skin problems occur because of the wrong  combination of food. Do always consult the health care professional or antenatal/garbh sanskar consultant.

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