Home Cooking Is The Biggest Food Poisioning Risk
Tuesday, May 27th 2003
Home cooking is three times more likely to make you sick than restaurant food.
The New Zealand Food Safety Authority reports a worrying trend of hygiene problems in home kitchens. It says surveys carried out worldwide, including New Zealand, show home cooks don't always know how to keep germs at bay.
The survey published in its newsletter found that food-borne illnesses from eating food at home were three times more common than illnesses caused by cafe and restaurant food.
Auckland medical officer of health Greg Simmons says North Shore cooks are among those making mistakes. "Mistakes include not washing hands before starting to cook, not cutting meat and veggies on separate chopping boards with different utensils and not refrigerating things quickly enough after they are cooked. Hot foods can't be refrigerated", Dr Simmons says. Cool items quickly, instead of slowly and then refrigerate them. He says too many people let things cool on the bench for hours or even a whole day. "They see the fridge as a cupboard to store things rather than as somewhere to stop bugs growing". Cool cooked food quickly in shallow cooking trays and then refrigerate it. Bacteria love slow cooling mince and rice. Eggs can make you sick if they're stored in the cupboard instead of the fridge.
Nausea, stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhoea can be expected if the cook gets it wrong. Serious illness like hepatitis A or listeriosis can occur. Some food-borne illnesses can cause death or kidney disease and severe dehydration in children.
The issue is so important that the New Zealand Foodsafe Partnership has been formed to educate home cooks. Public health officials occasionally inspect peoples kitchens of serious illnesses are reported.
By Nicole Jellard
Sourced from the North Shore Times Advertiser, Tuesday May 13, 2003
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