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Five keys to safer food
April 5, 2015, 1:03 pm

As part of its global strategy to decrease the burden of foodborne diseases, WHO identified the need to communicate simple global health messages based on scientific evidence to train all types of food handlers, including consumers. The Five Keys to Safer Food explain the basic principles that each individual should know all over the world to prevent foodborne diseases.

Keep Clean
While most microorganisms do not cause disease, dangerous microorganisms are widely found in soil, water, animals and people. These microorganisms are carried on hands, wiping cloths and utensils, especially cutting boards and the slightest contact can transfer them to food and cause foodborne diseases.
What you can do:
Wash your hands before handling food and often during food preparation
Wash your hands after going to the toilet
Wash and sanitize all surfaces and equipment used for food preparation
Protect kitchen areas and food from insects, pests and other animals

Separate raw and cooked
Raw food, especially meat, poultry and seafood, and their juices, can contain dangerous microorganisms which may be transferred onto other foods during food preparation and storage.
What you can do:
Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods
Use separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cutting boards for handling raw foods
Store food in containers to avoid contact between raw and prepared foods

Cook Thoroughly
Proper cooking kills almost all dangerous microorganisms. Studies have shown that cooking food to a temperature of 70°C can help ensure it is safe for consumption. Foods that require special attention include minced meats, rolled roasts, large joints of meat and whole poultry.
What you can do:
Cook food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, eggs and seafood
Bring foods like soups and stews to boiling to make sure that they have reached 70°C.
For meat and poultry, make sure that juices are clear, not pink.
Ideally, use a food thermometer to gauge correct cooking temperatures
Reheat cooked food thoroughly

Keep food at safe temperature
Microorganisms can multiply very quickly if food is stored at room temperature. By holding at temperatures below 5°C or above 60°C, the growth of microorganisms is slowed down or stopped. Some dangerous microorganisms still grow below 5°C.
What you can do:
Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours
Refrigerate promptly all cooked and perishable food (preferably below 5°C)
Keep cooked food piping hot (more than 60°C) prior to serving
Do not store food too long even in the refrigerator
Do not thaw frozen food at room temperature

Use safe water and raw materials
Raw materials, including water and ice, maybe contaminated with dangerous microorganisms and chemicals. Toxic chemicals may be formed in damaged and moldy foods. Care in selection of raw materials and simple measures such as washing and peeling may reduce the risk.
What you can do:
Use safe water or treat it to make it safe
Select fresh and wholesome foods
Choose foods processed for safety, such as pasteurized milk
Wash fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw
Do not use food beyond its expiry date

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