Some of the most common but dreadful diseases like food poisoning, bloody diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid fever and extreme dehydration are caused due to consumption of contaminated food. And food contamination mostly occurs due to improper and unsafe storage of food. In order to maintain proper health and hygiene, it is very necessary to make sure that the food that our body ingests is free from any contamination by bacteria, virus or parasites which can harm our body adversely.
So to keep your food free from any contamination in order to help you stay fit and healthy, we have stated below some beneficial tips on how to store food safely:
- The temperature between 40° F and 140°F is the ‘danger zone’ because this is the temperature when bacterial growth is at its peak. So always store your food below 40°F or keep it at a temperature above 140°F, so that bacterial growth is restricted.
- Before storing the food, make sure the utensils or containers in which you are going to store them are clean and tidy. Also clean your hands before you start handling the food, to maintain hygiene.
- To check if the food is tainted, never taste it; always smell it and if you’re unsure discard it off rather than risk your health by tasting it. Because even if a minuscule amount of stale food is consumed, it can cause food poisoning and other food-borne diseases.
- Different types of food need different kind of attention in order to store them safely. To store vegetables safely, always refrigerate them. Preferably keep them in netted bags (which allow the air to ventilate) in vegetable crisper. But vegetables like onions, potatoes, ginger, garlic and tomatoes (as long as they are not cut) should not be refrigerated, rather they should be kept in a cool, dark and ventilated area.
- Vegetables like capsicum should be kept open in the vegetable crisper and mushrooms or coriander leaves should be stored in a paper bag.
- For storing fruits, undoubtedly refrigerate them. Some fruits like mangoes, melons, and chikoos can be initially kept at normal room temperature, to let them ripe and then eventually could be refrigerated.
- Never refrigerate bananas, else their peel turns black. Citrus fruits can be stored at room temperature until the normal room temperature is very high.
- Dairy products are most vulnerable to getting infected with bacteria and decay.Always check the expiry date of milk and other dairy products before buying them. Especially in case of milk, prefer buying fresh milk or milk with an expiry date of more than 3 days because milk sometimes starts smelling even before its expiry date. Dairy products should not be left unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours. Boil milk before refrigerating it.
- Always store frozen food in an air-tight container in a freezer. Don’t allow it to defrost, to maintain its quality and taste.
- Meat products demand extra care when it comes to their safe and healthy storage because meat products like chicken or fish already carry some amount of bacteria but when we store them at very low temperature in refrigerators, the bacterial growth is curbed. Similarly, when we heat and cook it at a very high temperature, the bacteria are killed. Assure that the stored meat products do not come in contact with any other food products else they too might get infected. Also, keep it in the lowest shelf to prevent any juices dripping onto other food items kept below. Try consuming food items like fish and sea food within two days.
- Store eggs in egg cartons and also wrap all the poultry food products in a freezer wrap while freezing them.
- If canned or vacuum packed foods are damaged in any way, do not use them as botulism grows rapidly in such foods.
- Store dry foods some inches above the floor to keep them away from the annihilation caused by rodents.