Types Of Food That Can Pose A Risk To Food Safety
All food, when handled improperly, can result in food poisoning or foodborne illness. However, there are certain foods that pose a greater risk than others. Below are some foods that you should handle with extra care in order to ensure food safety.
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Purchase only fresh-looking fruits and vegetables that are not moldy, slimy, shriveled or bruised. Use your produce within a few days of purchasing them, unless they are potatoes, apples or citrus fruits which can be stored be longer. Try to avoid washing produce before storing it in the refrigerator because moisture will encourage bacteria growth. Only wash your produce just before using it. If you need to wash it before storage, for example to remove mud, be sure to dry it thoroughly with paper towels. Fresh fruits and vegetables can easily pick up harmful pathogens from contaminated soil and water or from a contaminated cutting board. Be sure when to clean all your tools and utensils before preparing your fruits and vegetables and cover and refrigerate any produce you have cut if you do not plan to consume it immediately.
- Meat and Poultry
Raw meat and poultry may contain parasites and harmful bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli or Campylobacter. Fortunately, these contaminants can be killed by thoroughly cooking the meat. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat as bacteria can spread quickly between your hands and the meat. It is also important to separate raw meat and poultry from other foods during preparation and refrigeration to prevent cross-contamination. For example, never put cooked foods on the same plate that held raw meat or poultry, unless the plate has been thoroughly washed with soap.
Many varieties of seafood, both fish and shellfish, are great for heart health and the growth and development of young children. However, raw seafood contains bacteria that can only be killed by thorough cooking.
- Eggs and Egg Products
Not only are eggs ae highly nutritious, they are highly affordable as well. However, fresh eggs must be handled with care as their shells often contain the bacteria Salmonella. A salmonella infection can result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever. To prevent this, keep fresh eggs refrigerated, cook them until their yolks are firm and thoroughly cook any foods that contain eggs.
Most people do not think of flour as a raw food product, but it typically is. Unless the flour has been heat-treated, it will contain harmful bacteria such as E. coli, which can cause food poisoning. Bacteria in flour will only be killed when the flour is cooked. That is why you should never taste or consume dough or batter made with raw flour.
- Dairy Products
Raw milk and dairy products made with raw milk, such as ice cream, yogurt, and soft cheeses like brie and queso fresco, may contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, Campylobacter and more. This is because raw milk has not been pasteurized to kill these harmful organisms. To prevent food poisoning from milk and dairy products, make sure to check that the milk has been pasteurized.