Did you know that viruses can live up to two to three days on cardboards and plastic and stainless steel surfaces and objects most commonly seen in our kitchen? Are you also aware that you might possibly catch COVID-19 through touching contaminated surfaces and objects aside from person-to-person transmission?
Safety and cleanliness should start within our homes and one of its most dominant parts in the kitchen. The kitchen isn’t simply a room filled with cooking utensils and appliances for meal preparation, but it is also where family bonding usually takes place. Some have hobbies of cooking meals or baking desserts together with their family members; some stay in the kitchen to socialize, while some use it for their family business. In more ways than one, the kitchen is eventually a part of our daily routine, thus it is important to always keep it clean.
(Photo credits to http://www.foodbizconsult.com)
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness which can be transmitted directly from human-to-human interaction, via respiratory droplets dispersed through talking, sneezing, and coughing, or direct contact with infected persons.
When it comes to the potential of COVID-19 transmission through food products, no studies to date have reported that COVID-19 can directly spread via food products, however, more studies are needed to verify the pressing question of the plausibility of COVID-19 transmission from the respiratory tract to food package surfaces, or through food consumption. In this light, various authorities in food and health presented guidelines and preventive measures for both consumers and food chain to observe during food purchasing, handling, and preparation to minimize COVID-19 transmission.
Ensuring that food is safe for human consumption is likely the most critical part of the food preparation process. But how can we safely prepare, cook and store our food during COVID-19? Here we present three practical food hygiene tips:
- Wash fresh produce
After food purchase, disinfection of bags and containers is a must as there is always a possibility that various people have handled the food items you bought. So, it is a good idea to wash them thoroughly before bringing them inside the kitchen.
Wash fresh produce by rubbing them under running water, rather than thinking that germs can be killed through cooking alone. Use of cold water is okay, just make sure to pat them dry with a paper towel or a clean kitchen towel.
- Cook food thoroughly
Constantly observe food safety by following proper cooking time and temperature. Aim for an internal temperature of 75 degrees Celsius or hotter, as this temperature kills most food-poisoning bacteria. Use of thermometer to check the internal temperature of foods, especially meats, is recommended during the entire cooking process.
- Ensure safe storage of foods
Keep dry foods and liquids separately, as wet food attracts growth of moulds easily. Dry food items such as grains, canned goods, and other similar types should be stored away from liquids.
Do not store raw and ready-to-eat foods together. This helps to prevent the occurrence of cross-contamination from raw foods such as meat and meat products and that of cooked foods such as pre-prepared soups and viands.
Store raw meat, dairy, and other cold foods in the proper temperature to prevent growth of microorganisms before consumption. For canned foods, the lids should be wiped before opening and ensure the cooking utensils such as knives, chopping boards, pots and the kitchen or food working stations to keep it clean and sanitized to minimize the risks of cross-contamination among food items during storage.
Washing of hands should not be ignored. In simple hand washing the risk of spreading the virus and food contamination as well can be prevented. Always observe cleanliness for it will lead you to safety against any type of sickness caused by virus and bacteria. ###
Olaimat, A, et. al. (2020). Accessed from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2020.01854/full#B42
Bottles of alcoholic drinks. (photo credits to www.abc.net.au)
Drinking alcoholic beverages is part of every social gathering. And now that we are in a holiday season, drinking sessions are everywhere. It plays a societal role in many cultures. But what nutrition do we really get in drinking alcohol?
Alcoholic beverages comprise a large group of beverages such as beer, wine, tequila, and vodka, that contain varying amounts of alcohol (ethanol) produced through fermentation of grains or fruits. The components of alcoholic beverages are highly complex and over 1300 compounds have been identified in various beverages.
Regional Bantay Asin Task Force (RBATF) Virtual Meeting was conducted last September 22, 2020 via Google Meet.
Discussions include the updates on regional salt monitoring and list of salt distributors and retailers in the region, updates on ASIN monitoring guidelines and checklist, updates on the WYD machine and reagents, and the need to organize and operationalize the Local Bantay Asin Task Force at different administrative level.
Ms. Richel Prado, the representative of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Caraga shared about the agency’s regular market surveillance including the monitoring of salts sold in the local supermarkets and inspection of availability of License to Operate (LTO) permit among salt distributors and retailers in the region. Results of the salt samples collected was also presented.
Representatives from Salinas Foods, Incorporated also joined in the meeting and oriented the participants about the WYD machine and reagents, they also addressed queries from the participants on how to acquire and procure the WYD machine. Further, they also give emphasis that training on the use of the WYD machine will be included in the package.
OIC – Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Retsebeth M. Laquihon stressed the importance of strengthening the implementation of RA 8172 or “An Act Promoting Salt Iodization Nationwide and For Other Purposes” by establishing a functional monitoring mechanism through the Bantay Asin Task Force to ensure that only adequately iodized salt is available in the market, food establishments and households. Further, she enjoined the local government units through the nutrition action officers and the technical working group to support the campaign and implementation of salt iodization program in the region to fight the battle against micronutrient deficiencies particularly Iodine Deficiency Disorder that delays mental development and physical growth of children.
The participants was also encouraged to attend during the next RBATF XIII Meeting on the 4th quarter for the formulation of the Regional Salt Iodization Plan for CY 2021 highlighting the expansion of RBATF membership; advocacy campaigns, information dissemination and the monitoring and evaluation component.