World Food Safety Day 2023: 7 essential practices for healthy and safe meals

Food is one of our basic needs. It is the fuel that nourishes our bodies, providing the energy and nutrients needed for growth, vitality and general well-being. While good food can help us stay healthy, contaminated, expired, or improperly stored food can lead to various health risks. One in 10 people worldwide are affected by foodborne illness each year. World Food Safety Day is celebrated every year on June 7 to draw attention to food standards so that what we eat is safe and does not make us sick. (Read also: Today is World Food Safety Day: 5 things to know)

World Food Safety Day is celebrated every year on June 7 to draw attention to food standards so that what we eat is safe and does not make us sick (Freepik)

“In a world where unsanitary and unsafe food devastates countless lives every day, the time has come to prioritize good hygiene practices. Foodborne illnesses, caused by eating contaminated meals, affect our health and our well-being. To counter this threat, we must ensure that the food we eat is free from harmful microorganisms and chemicals,” says Dt. Ashish Rani, Assistant Manager – Dietetics, Aakash Healthcare, New Delhi.


Here are 7 essential practices to follow for safe meals.

1. Clean hands, safe food

Starting from the beginning. Start by washing your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling any food. Eliminate harmful bacteria and prevent contamination by maintaining proper hand hygiene.

2. Immaculate surfaces

Keep your kitchen surfaces clean and sanitized. Disinfect countertops, cutting boards, and utensils regularly to prevent the spread of harmful pathogens.

3. Check for deterioration or damage

Ensure freshness and cleanliness of ingredients. Check for any signs of deterioration or damage before cooking or consuming. Say no to questionable food items.

4. Separate carefully

Separate raw and cooked in the refrigerator, right from the start. Use different utensils, cutting boards and storage containers to avoid the transfer of harmful bacteria. Seal raw food, let it rest at the bottom, while cooked food can be placed on higher shelves. Prevent cross-contamination, keep your health intact, with this simple rule, the safety of the refrigerator is a fact.

5. Cook it right

The safety of cooked food is ensured when the internal temperature gets high enough to kill germs that have the ability to make you sick. Cooking food properly to kill bacteria and other pathogens. Use a food thermometer to ensure internal temperatures reach safe levels, eliminating all risk. Frozen food can be safely placed in the refrigerator, cold water or microwave for thawing. Thawing frozen foods on the counter will cause spoilage as bacteria can multiply rapidly in parts of the food that reach room temperature.

6. Keep it cold

Keep the refrigerator temperature at 5°C or lower and the freezer temperature below -15°C. Remember to store perishable foods (meat, fish, dairy products, cut fruit, some vegetables, and cooked leftovers) refrigerated at or below 40°F (4°C) within 2 hours, and within one hour if exposed to cold temperatures. elevated like a hot car. Store leftovers promptly after meals to prevent bacterial growth and maintain food safety.

7. Conscious storage

Store food in appropriate containers, minimizing exposure to air and contaminants. Make sure your containers are clean and in proper condition and only use them for food storage. Seal tightly with suitable lids or plastic wrap to minimize contamination. Label items with dates to track freshness and avoid consuming expired food. Use several clean, shallow containers to package warm or hot foods and then refrigerate them. It’s fine to refrigerate small portions of hot food as they will cool down faster.

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