Hygiene is a hot topic during this crazy time, so as part of Immunity Fortnight we’re going to talk about food hygiene. While we don’t know much about Coronavirus yet, we believe that keeping your body as healthy as possible is incredibly important. Ensuring you practise good food safety means the chances of what you’re eating making you sick or being contaminated are far less, keeping your body strong and fighting.
Wash your fresh produceFrom the farm to your fridge, your produce has probably been on a bit of a journey before it reaches you. From bugs, pesticides and chemicals, to people at the shop handling it before you purchase it. It can be really hard to know what’s on your fruit and veg by the time it makes it to your kitchen, which is why it’s incredibly important to make sure you wash it properly before cooking it. Start by washing your hands with soap and water, to prevent any germs transferring from your hands. Don’t use any detergent or soap to wash your produce, but simply wash it under cold, fresh water with your hands, or use a vegetable brush for thick-skinned veggies. For produce with lots of nooks and crannies, you can soak it in clean, cold water for 1 – 2 minutes.
Prep your ingredients properlySo we can wash fruit and veg to help get rid of any contamination, but what about animal products? Always ensuring your meat is cooked all the way through is a great way of practising food safety to get rid of any nasties that might be lingering. For pregnant women, the same advice goes for eggs: always pick a hard-boiled egg over a poached. This is because if the yolk is still runny it could still have potentially-harmful bacteria in it, as the yolk hasn’t been heated enough to remove it.
Always keep raw and cooked foods separateRaw foods should always be stored on the bottom shelves of the fridge, and cooked foods on the higher shelves. This is because raw foods can contaminate cooked foods if not stored properly, and if the cooked food isn’t reheated enough can then make you sick. The bottom of the fridge tends to also be cooler in temperature which is ideal for raw foods.
How to avoid cross-contaminationCross-contamination is when bacteria and viruses are transferred from one surface to another, for example between seafood and meat or a dirty knife and a clean chopping board. To practise good food hygiene, separate fresh foods by their food group to avoid cross-contamination. Fresh foods should always be separated by their food group to avoid cross-contamination. Pantry items are generally safe to be stored together as long as they are sealed and in good packaging, which can also prevent them from going stale, meaning you can enjoy them for longer! All the below foods should be stored separately to one another:
- Fruit and veg
- Dairy products