“Safe Food”: The Importance of Proper Food Handling

    Proper storage of products prevents the proliferation of pests and microorganisms that can damage them

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    The problem of food handling does not discriminate race or nationality, nor is it a problem of a specific part of the population; In fact, these dangerous practices for health come from poor hand washing to the purchase of food of dubious origin for internal consumption in homes.

    Safe food is understood to be that preparation that will not harm and that will not make the final consumer sick. It is important to mention that a safe food is not necessarily of quality; this is where the second concept of quality food comes from, one whose characteristics are pleasant to the eye, to the smell, to the touch, to the ear and to the taste and it will not make you sick.

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    Hand washing

    Hand washing, a trend in the last year and a half, was one of the most underestimated practices, taking into account that before, people went to places where food was sold, be it restaurants, food courts, street sales, among others; they asked for food and just sat down to eat. Now, if we work on the new normal of the pandemic, now hand washing and the use of alcohol are more frequent, but we still do not do it well.

    Why do we keep doing it wrong?

    In some cases it is customary to just wet your hands to get it out of the way, and you blindly rely on alcohol. This is where the concepts of cleaning (the ability to remove visible dirt with soap and water) and disinfection (the ability to decrease the number of microorganisms on a clean surface using alcohol) become more important.

    Where you eat

    On the other hand, it is important to know at where you eat where the food comes from; however, part of the Costa Rican culture goes against this premise, some citizens tend to consume products whose origin is not very clear or is not endorsed by the Ministry of Health.

    It should be noted that the importance of consuming products from suppliers that have a valid operating permit and sanitary registration is that it can be seen as a food safety seal, that is, a way of certifying that the product or food center meets the minimum required not to get sick.

    How to properly store food

    It is important that before storing any product, its basic characteristics are taken into account, in order not to promote the proliferation of pests or microorganisms that can damage the product.

    It can be achieved by following these actions:

    • In the case of groceries, these should be stored after cleaning. Before being opened for consumption, the packaging must be washed to eliminate any living being that could generate any disease.
    • Fruits and vegetables must be made sure that before being stored in refrigeration or at room temperature, they do not present bumps or tears, since these physical signs will decompose the product faster, they must also be washed and disinfected before consumption.
    • The eggs, before being stored, must be cleaned one by one, eliminating all traces of any fecal residue that they may have, and washed before being consumed.
    • In the case of dairy products, the packaging must be washed before storage, and for cheese specifically, once opened it must be stored in a different container than the one it came from.
    • With regard to meats (is it chicken, fish, beef, pork or other), the bag or container in which it was packed should be washed prior to opening it. It should be divided and stored in portions suitable for consumption, for example, if they buy 1 kg of ground meat they can divide it into 4-5 portions according to family consumption, to be able to be frozen and at the time of use only take out the appropriate portion.

    As a population we should be more aware of taking care of our health in terms of a safe and quality diet. Rescuing that as part of the public health safety process it is the responsibility of each person to ensure that the establishment of food sales or the supplier of products for human consumption complies with the minimum of the law.

    Resonance Costa Rica

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