Written by Neill Abayon
When it comes to food, what you see or smell is not necessarily what you get.
Have you ever looked in your refrigerator and found some long-forgotten and covered with greenish, brownish or blackish fuzzy mold? You surely would throw the food away. Even the thought of eating it might make you sick.
But spoiled food isn't always green and fuzzy. It can look and smell normal but can have millions of bacteria in it.
So how do we know whether our food is safe?
One of the most common cause of food poisoning is Salmonella, a red-shaped bacteria that can cause various diseases such as thyphoid fever, malaise and intestinal disorder in man and domestic animals. This problem of food poisoning is getting worse because many animals are given food that contains anti-biotic drugs. Salmonella loves milk, eggs, seafood and meat especially poultry.
These bacteria grow well at room temperature. But they don't thrive in cold places and they die when cooked, my doctor told me. So, it's best to keep food hot or cold and not lukewarm. When food is not cooked properly and thoroughly,bacteria may survive. This is especially true for chicken or big chunks of meat. Many people seem to be in a hurry, and they don't have much cooking experience. Other prefer meat raw or rare. Most of the time it is safe - but the bacteria may strike without warning. Eating at "carenderias" or mobile stores can be dangerous. As food sits out on the table for hours, the bacteria are having a feast. If we eat some bacteria, they grow on us. Our bodies won't like that and will flush the bacteria out. And that's not a fun experience.
The way to prevent food poisoning is proper storage. Food should be cooled thoroughly. A big pot of stew may take several hours to cool off in the refrigerator. Separating it into smaller containers will help it cool faster.
Personal cleanliness is also needed. We should wash our hands before and after eating. Hand washing is particularly important after visiting the restroom. Tasting food with used spoon can also spread germs. Clean utensils area must. Knives, cutting boards and hands should be washed after handling raw meat.
Carefulness in handling food can prevent hours of misery. You'll have good memories of good food.