Take Care of Your Food Properly and It Will Take Care of You
Though food safety has come a long way over the years, it’s still not a perfect system. Even the most rigid food safety systems do not always detect bugs that cause illness, and there are plenty of cases where the rules aren’t followed. That all adds up to about 48 million people getting foodborne illnesses each year in the U.S., with 128,000 of those winding up in the hospital and about 3,000 dying. There are a number of things that can be done from the manufacturer level down to the seller and consumer levels to try to help ensure food safety.
Food inspection systems continue to improve, with new tools coming online all the time. Some of these include high-pressure pasteurization, which uses extreme pressure to kill bugs in food rather than heat or chemicals, and x-ray machines for food inspection. X-ray machines for food inspection are used mostly to detect metal that accidentally winds up in food from broken or faulty equipment. There are three main types of metals in foods that such a machine can find: ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless steel. X-ray machines can detect particles that are smaller than 1.5 millimeters, which is more than other machines can detect, so they help to increase food safety.
Manufacturers generally do as much as they can to ensure food is as safe as possible when it leaves their factories. But many cases of foodborne illnesses are caused by other things, including failure to store food properly. When you bring food home from the store or if you take home leftovers from a restaurant, you need to make sure it is stored properly. If it needs to be refrigerated, then make sure your refrigerator is set no higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Frozen foods need to be kept in temperatures that are at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Any kind of food that is open should be used within a few days. To keep food lasting longer, you can put it in vacuum sealed bags, which keep food in edible condition about three to five times longer than food stored in plastic bags or containers.
Food safety is important, and following some of these tips can help you reduce the chances that you or a loved one get a foodborne illness.