Food Storage and Safety
By Nmami Agarwal
In today’s time, the constant evolution of civilization and advancement of food practices have systematically compromised food safety. The major factor which leads to food contamination and food-poisoning is due to wrong storage of food.
Risk bacteria related to wrong food storage
- Staphylococcus: These bacteria cause illness by getting multiplied when they attacks food. While they grow, they produce toxins which cause illness and do not get destroyed by cooking.
Salmonella: Salmonella food poisoning happens after forty eight hours of consuming food. The bacteria are developed by poor food handling and contaminated meat and poultry.
- Clostridium: Clostridium food poisoning is caused majorly by wrong cooking, storage, and refrigerated temperatures. The symptoms may include stomach ache, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
- Campylobacter: Contaminated food and water are the foremost source of getting infected from campylobacter which even gets worsen in indigenous communities due to stagnant water.
Safety food storage
- Shelf life: Foods have limited shelf life depending upon the type, packaging, and storage. The “used by date” is the date after which the food should not be consumed and “best before” is the end of the period when food was in its best state and should be consumed till then.
- High-risk food storage: High-risk food should be refrigerated below 5 degree Celsius and there should be proper space between articles so that cold air moves over the food. Food such as raw fish and meats should be stored well wrapped with foil so that it doesn’t get attacked so easily by bacteria. High-risk food involves eggs, meat, fish, seafood and dairy products like milk, cream, cheese, and yogurt.
- Frozen foods: Frozen foods are frozen in order to increase the shelf life of the food. The frozen food is allowed to warm up from less than 0 degrees F. More than food safety refreezing frozen foods reduce the quality of the food. Refreezing of thawed food is not recommended.
- Safe and unsafe temperatures: Storing food at wrong temperatures has the potential to multiply harmful bacteria. Perishable food should be stored at or below 5 degrees or above 60 degrees. It is very important to cook at the proper temperature for some foods so that they can be stored for long. Poultry, such as whole chicken, should reach seventy five degrees while cooking.
Between five degrees to sixty degrees is ‘temperature danger zone’.
- Toxic and non-toxic containers: Food should not be reheated or freeze in plastic containers. It is better to store food in glass containers than plastic containers. Food should be covered with airtight lids, foil or plastic film to avoid contamination.
Different kind of foods like beans, nuts, cereals, dairy products, poultry products requires different storage. Beans should be stored in room temperature in tight lid containers. Nuts after a month should be stored in airtight in refrigerator up to 6 months and freezer for up to a year. Cereals are low-risk food which can be stored in the dry location in a closed container up to a year. Dairy products and poultry are high-risk food which needs to be refrigerated.
Over to you
Food safety and proper food storage are very important because it can prevent mild to severe food poisoning. Consuming food within safe hours is important even if it does not smell or have a different taste.
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