Simple Food Handling Skills
The recent E. coli virus out break in Germany originated with the contamination of bean sprouts. According to ABC world news 31 people died from the virus and 3,100 became ill. Germany’s national disease control center is continuing their investigation to establish precautions that will ensure European vegetables are safe to consume.
In previous years the medical community, the Center for Disease Control, and the United States Department of Agriculture had little understanding of food borne illnesses. Today, health organizations like the USDA work with global organizations that investigate and trace down food borne viruses and bacteria in our food supply. This is not the first time or the last time that our food supply is infiltrated with some sort of food borne pathogen. It is necessary to take precautions like washing your fruits and vegetables – but there are a few more things you can do to prevent food borne illnesses.
I follow several simple and sustainable food handling rules to ensure the foods my family and I consume are safe. The following critical health thinking skills and food preparation precautions will make all the difference in your journey to reclaiming your health and preventing sickness and disease.
Never consume fruits and vegetables that have not been washed. It is tempting to skip this process.
Never underestimate the power of washing and scrubbing your fruits and vegetables with hydrogen peroxide or produce wash. (Our produce comes from foreign and local farms, has been handled behind the scenes by different people and inspected and handled by customers before we ever purchase it.) HP 3% is affordable and can be used in a variety of ways to disinfect your kitchen, bathrooms, etc.
Hydrogen peroxide wash: cover fruits and vegetables with water in large bowl or in your kitchen sink. If using your kitchen sink: wash sink with hot soapy water and rinse. Spray sink with HP and let sit for two minutes then rinse with hot water. This will disinfect sink before using. Cover fruits and vegetables with water and add 1 Tbs. HP. Set a timer to 15 minutes and scrub with a vegetable scrubber. Let produce sit in HP wash for fifteen minutes then drain.
Cover produce with water again and rinse for additional 15 minutes. You may wash them this way anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Wash fruits and vegetables separately. Make sure to rinse produce thoroughly. Whatever amount of time you wash your produce will be the same amount of time you will rinse them. Soft fruits, lettuce and greens may be washed for minimal time as they absorb water quickly.
- Never purchase fruits and vegetables that have been pre-diced and cut and sold in a bag or plastic containers of any sort. They essentially release the natural juices and moisture they hold inside them creating an environment for bacterial growth.
- Obtain a free copy of a “Food Safety Manual for the Food Service Worker” from your local government health service offices or take the food handlers class. You don’t have to work in the food industry to take advantage of critical health information from your state environmental health and food services department. You will learn the following (and more) vital food preparation information from the Food Safety Manual they offer: What makes people sick from food? Four Causes of Food-Borne Illness, Temperature Control , Cross Contamination , Food Storage
- Wash your hands before, during and after preparing food, especially when handling raw animal based foods. Keep soap, paper towels and a paper bag for discarding meat, poultry and fish parts close by to confine your work to a minimal space. Wash hands before handling any other foods.
- Wash counter, sink and utensils immediately after preparing raw animal based foods with hot soapy water. Then spray counter with HP to disinfect and rinse with hot water.
- Keep a large stainless steel bowl close by to place all utensils, pots and pans etc. after preparing animal based foods if you are not able to wash them immediately. Keep them away from all other foods, cutting boards and utensils.
- Clean refrigerator weekly. Wipe doors, wash drawers, shelves and remove any spoiling or molding foods. If you suspect mold in a food, remove it and place in garbage reciprocal out doors. Wash and rinse refrigerator well.
- When in doubt, throw it out!
These and many more critical health skills are vital to your health and wellness. Incorporating them into your daily food preparation is extremely simple.
Experience How Simple Health Really Is!