What exactly are you eating this Christmas?

By Karen Mugambi | Tuesday, Dec 24th 2019 at 10:40
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This season has been christened the eating season, and everywhere across Kenya, people will indulge heavily in food and drinks. Have you taken the time to think of how clean the food preparation is?

There are more than a hundred ways your food could be contaminated in the cooking process, let alone the thousands of different types of bacteria that could contaminate the food.

Especially the people in urban areas who are more at risk of food poisoning as reported in different incidences from cholera infested water to insecticide laced vegetables and cereals.

Here are five tips I would like to share with you on ensuring a clean process.

First, using clean water for cooking, washing hands, and utensils. Very often overlooked is the fact that water for cooking is just as important as water for drinking. I often come across people who buy bottled drinking water but will trust the tap water they are avoiding to cook with. Their rationale would be that because the water will boil during cooking, it will be okay. However, what about the half a glass you add when you just realise the stew is not enough, or when adding that little water at the end to give some soup. Not to mention if you are trying to avoid flouride or high mineral content in hard water, you just end up with as much of it while cooking with it.

Maintain high temperatures. This is synonymous with keeping the sterility; this is because microorganisms die in high temperatures. As long as it is above 40C, it is good enough.

The third point would be to cover food in all instances. During cooking, serving, and storage. As long as it is not in your mouth, keep it covered. Avoid dust, houseflies, and harmful aerosols landing on your food more so if you are eating in open areas.

Another not so obvious point would be to ask where the food has been before it enters your kitchen. This could make for some juicy small talk either at your vendor or with your waiter. For those who grow their own food, you don't have to worry about this. A small tip here would be to keenly look at GMO food carefully despite the shiny, glossy, and plump look.

The final tip would be to consume with moderation. Contaminated food and drink would not be as severe if you eat just a little.

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