Understanding food safety guidelines is very important for everyone to understand. Our wellness and health is ultimately determined by safe and clean food.
Heavy metals and modern day chemicals pose more serious health threats than microbes and insects do. For instance, there are some specific heavy metals that are in food that can enter into our bodies and accumulate there in such great quantities that they can damage our immune systems over time, which can impair nervous system function, result in cancers or cause other types of genetic abnormalities through genetic mutation in offspring.
Various kinds of heavy metals and hazardous chemicals enter into water sources that are nearby and contaminate the soil intended for cultivating crops. In some developing countries this scenario is a common one where the water treatment facilities are quite primitive. Heavy metals like cadmium, lead and mercury, insecticides and pesticides such as Endosulfan and harmful chemicals like DDT can gain access easily and embed themselves deep inside of the cells of the pulses, cereals, fruits and vegetables that we eat on a daily basis.
Given that humans are mostly on the end of the overall food chain, a lot of these toxic compounds can ultimately end up entering our bodies, either indirectly or directly. There is a catch to it. Worms and larger insects that are on the surfaces of vegetables can be identified easily and removed. Also, you can destroy microorganisms such as cysts, ova, viruses and bacteria through high temperature cooking. However, how can you get rid of toxins and chemicals that permanently reside in the food that we eat?
Unfortunately, we haven’t come up with any effective measures yet for keeping these dangerous and harmful substances under control. Our modern scientific community still hasn’t been able to come up with any effective techniques for filtering these chemical compounds out. However, it is still possible to minimize some health risks through the adoption of food safety guidelines that are efficient at each stage, starting with how food ingredients are handled, to selecting them from authentic sources, as well as proper processing, preparation, storage and consumption.
This is definitely a challenging task. However, when it comes to ensuring food safety guidelines, food selection is a critical first step. This process is influenced by a number of different factors that must be kept in mind when planning to purchase items of food. Check for the item’s origin (chemicals-treated or organic farming), methods that were applied to it while it was being harvested, marketing and transportation, local availability, geography, individual interest, purchasing power of the individual or family, etc. It is essential to be fairly knowledgeable about the food items given that so many food-borne diseases, which range from serious cancers down to minor food poisoning, are attributed to the types of food we eat.
The following are important food safety guidelines to help avoid selecting the wrong foods:
- Always purchase fresh seasonable fruits and vegetables that have been grown at organic farms that are nearby.
- Avoid food items that come from crop fields that are irrigated with water from polluted rivers or sewage water sources.
- Purchase pulses and cereals from organic farming authentic sources.
- Obtain milk and milk product from healthy livestock only.
- Meat and poultry produce should be obtained from healthy animal farms that are certified.
- Try purchasing fresh fish that comes from deep water sources since most rivers and water ponds are polluted.
- Try avoiding take-out foods since verifying their authenticity can be difficult.
How food items are stored is also very important, since they need to stay nourishing and fresh until we eat them. Storing food items improperly deprives them of their taste and nutritive value in addition to making them vulnerable to insect and microbe attacks.
The following are some food safety guidelines for storing food properly:
- Always thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables under cold running water. Next, soak them for about 30 minutes in salt water before you sort and store them inside your refrigerator.
- Use fruits (grapes, berries, and banana) and vegetables (particularly green-leaf) that have short shelf lives as soon as you can.
- Keep meat and poultry items inside your refrigerator freezer compartment.
- Don’t thaw food items outdoors or open in a kitchen. Food should be thawed in the microwave, in cold water or in the refrigerator.
- Keep pulses and cereals in air-tight bags or boxes since they attract insects and flies if they are kept open.