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Food Safety & Your Health

Food safety is a scientific discipline describing the handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent food-borne illness. Food-borne diseases take a significant toll on health, and millions of people fall ill, and many die due to eating unsafe food. Thus maintaining food safety standards is crucial.
WHO identified the need to communicate simple global health messages based on scientific evidence to train all types of food.

Food can transmit disease from person to person and serve as a growth medium for bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Thus improper food hygiene is an important factor that causes disease. In developed countries, there are intricate standards for food preparation. In contrast, in lesser developed countries, the main issue is simply the availability of adequate safe water, usually critical.
Food-borne illness (also food-borne disease and colloquially referred to as food poisoning) is any illness resulting from the consumption of contaminated food, pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites that infect food and chemical or natural toxins such as poisonous mushrooms.
The food-borne illness usually arises from improper handling, preparation, or food storage. Maintaining food safety standards before, during, and after food preparation, can reduce contracting a disease.
Monitoring food to ensure that it will not cause food-borne illness is food safety. Food-borne disease can also be caused by many toxins that affect the environment. These can also be caused by pesticides or medicines in food and naturally toxic substances such as poisonous mushrooms or reef fish.

5 Key Principles of Food Hygiene

Keep Clean:

  • Wash your hands before handling food and often during food preparation
  • Wash your hands after going to the toilet
  • Wash and sanitize all surfaces and equipment used for maintaining food hygiene.
  • Protect kitchen areas and food from insects, pests, and other animals.

Separate Raw And Cooked:

  • Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods
  • Use separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cutting boards for handling raw foods
  • Store food in containers to avoid contact between raw and prepared foods 

Cook Thoroughly:

  • Cook food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood
  • Bring foods like soups and stews to boiling to ensure they have reached 70°C.
  • Reheat cooked food thoroughly

Keep Food At Safe Temperatures:

  • Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours and adhere to food safety standards
  • Refrigerate promptly all cooked and perishable food (preferably below five °C)
  • Keep cooked food piping hot (more than 60°C) before serving
  • Do not store food too long, even in the refrigerator
  • Do not thaw frozen food at room temperature

Use Safe Water And Raw Materials:

  • Use safe water or treat it to make it safe
  • Select fresh and wholesome foods
  • Choose foods processed for safety, such as pasteurized milk
  • Wash fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw
  • Do not use food beyond its expiry date

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, is the regulating body related to food safety and laying down of food standards in India. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an agency of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.