The best defense against foodborne illness is in your hands. Taking risky shortcuts such as forgetting to wash your hands before cooking - can increase the likelihood that you'll get sick. Even low levels of bacteria can multiply and cause illness if given the opportunity.
Did you know? Bacteria doubles every couple of hours at room temperature.
Here are some steps you can take to help keep you and your family safe:
> Wash your hands with hot, soapy water before and after any food preparation. Use a paper towel to dry off your clean hands.
> Use steady stream of cool running water to thoroughly rinse produce -- even bagged vegetables and salad mixes that say "triple washed" and "ready-to-use" on the label.
> For whole heads of lettuce or cabbage, remove outer leaves and any bruised or damaged parts prior to washing. Use a brush to scrub carrots, cucumbers or other firm produce to remove dirt that can harbor bacteria.
> Take extra caution with fresh fruits and vegetables that are cut up. Just as ground beef is potentially riskier than whole steaks, precut produce may pose a greater risk because bacteria can more easily spread on the exposed surfaces.
> Dismantle your fruit bowl on the kitchen counter and stash all fruits except bananas in your refrigerator. Be sure to wash each one before you eat them -- even oranges, melons and other fruits that you intend to peel. Otherwise bacteria can enter the fruit when you cut into it.
> Throw out leftover cut or peeled produce if left at room temperature for more that two hours.
> Buy only pasteurized juices and keep chilled in the fridge.
> Use separate cutting boards and utensils for meats and produce, thoroughly clean with hot water and soap after each use and dry with paper towels.
Hope you learned something new today...
Credits: Friday Flavours by Gulf News