While the mercury’s on the rise, it is time to pay some special attention to your food. And by saying so, we don’t just mean making the right choices to eating light and healthy (which is very important), but also taking care in keeping your food safe.Summer is the time when your food is more prone to spoiling. Keep a bowl of food out for a few hours and what you will get by the end of it is a prospering environment of microorganisms. Because the temperature is so high, it immediately creates a suitable space for the microbes to grow. And before we know it, our food is far from being safe.How Safe are Fruits & Veggies Bought from Local Markets?Food poisoning or food borne diseases are most common during summers and this is mainly because we ignore to make simple efforts when it comes to cleaning, cooking and storing the various ingredients and products. Our home kitchens most often are not equipped with storing large quantities of food safely. So what should you do? Here are few tips to keep in mind -Hygiene Comes FirstWhile handling raw meat, fish and poultry, make sure that you wash your hands immediately and once again before cooking and dry them using a clean towel. Make a habit of wearing an apron in the kitchen. Avoid cooking and touching food items if you have cold, runny nose or fever. Before handling food, make sure that all cooking surfaces are spotlessly clean. Wash all utensils with soap and water. Preferably use a separate chopping board for meat.World Health Day 2015: 'From Farm to Plate, Make Food Safe' Says WHOClean Your ProduceWith the growing concern about pesticide residues remaining on the surface of fruits and vegetables, it will be a good idea to soak them in lukewarm water with some salt and vinegar for two hours. Before eating (fruits) or cooking (vegetables), wash them under running tap water to get rid of any last traces of pesticides.The Right TemperatureThis is the most important tip for maintaining food safety during the hot summer months. Since all the food is stored in the refrigerator, care must be taken to ensure that each item is properly packed and kept. The temperature of the refrigerator must be maintained at four degree celsius and the freezer at -15 to -18 degree celsius.Store away raw meat and poultry in the freezer compartment. When required, thaw out in the refrigerator compartment itself, but separate it from other items of food. Make sure to thaw the meat thoroughly.When it comes to marinated meats, use the sauce only for cooking, and not for serving. Also, never serve cooked meat on the same plate that is used for marinating.Once served, food should not be kept outside for more than two hours. If eating outdoors, use an ice box with plenty of ice packs. Use separate boxes for food and beverages, and avoid opening the boxes too often to maintain the cool temperature inside. Also, keep away the boxes from direct sunlight.Safety Tips for Outdoor PicnicsFood safety begins with proper cleaning, so make sure that your hands are washed and cleaned, especially during outdoor settings. Before you begin laying out your picnic feast, do a quick check on the surface that you plan to spread it on and clean it. If you don’t have access to running water, simply use a jug of water, soap, and paper towels; or consider using disposable wet wipes for cleaning hands.Inputs from IANS
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