Are you still not concern about the food that you eat? Not yet. You should be. According to recent news by Times of India, about 2384 cases were reported for food safty concerns (2018-2019) but only 300 of them were convicted. Food adulteration is a major issue the country is facing. It's hard to know where most of your food products are sourced from, where it's grown, how it's grown; if it's free from pesticides or chemicals. Contamination of food and getting food-related diseases are serious and you need to be aware of these concerns. If you're already well aware of food safety concerns, I hear you. It's real and valid.
Why Should You Care About the Food You Eat?
Eating healthy food may not always be a choice. But commiting to be eat healthy food can be a long term health decision that you could make. With problems like food adulterations, food contaminants, pesticides you are left with even less healthy food choices. Some of most shocking contaminants in your food are industrial dyes used for brightening food color, usage of saw dust, chalk in spices for unfair gains, wax on fruits for a polished look. To name a few.
Studies suggest, unsafe foods containing pathogenic microorganisms and toxic chemicals are responsible for more than 200 diseases ranging from diarrhea to cancer. Food and waterborne diarrheal diseases are linked to the deaths of an estimated 2 million people annually worldwide, including many children. It is estimated that the reduction of food borne diseases by 10% would save 5 million people from getting sick. In India, the full burden of food borne illnesses is not known; most food borne illnesses go unreported. The scientific investigations/reports on outbreak of foodborne diseases in India for the past 29 (1980–2009) years indicated that a total of 37 outbreaks involving 3,485 persons have been affected due to food poisoning. Pesticides and the use of fertilizers in the past 50 years have also grown nearly 170 times. As a consequence, persistent residues of these chemicals contaminate food and disperse in the environment and find their way into the food chain. India is struggling with age old problem of poor environmental sanitation, lack of access to safe water and poor disease surveillance. These problems are addition to the menace of food adulteration. Adulteration of food cheats the consumer and poses a serious risk to health. Adulterant means any material which is or could be employed for making the food unsafe or sub-standard or misbranded or containing extraneous matter. Adulterated food is dangerous because it may be toxic and can affect health and it could deprive nutrients essential for proper growth and development.
If you're not aware of these food safety concerns, you should be. Caring about the food you eat is a must. Otherwise, unsafe food will lead to food related dieases, malnourishment and especially take a toll on your young ones, the elderly and the sick.
What is Unsafe Food?
Unwanted contaminants in food, toxic to your body that leads to long term diseases, you shouldn't be eating. Examples of unsafe food includes unwashed vegetable or unpackaged loosely sold spices, both these have a high possibility to be contaminated with animal dropping, insect larvae and dust.
According to the WHO unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances causes more than 200 dieseases - ranging from diarrhoea to cancers (Source)
So what's next.
How Can You Avoid Unsafe Food
In times like these, is there a way you can protect yourself? That's the question we have been asking oursleves. Thankfully, we have figured 5 steps you can take to minimize the risks of unsafe food. Here are 5 must knows:
Avoid buying unpackaged spices from the market. Loosely sold spices are contaminated with animal droppings, insect larve and dust. These unpackaged spices are also where suppliers add sand, chalk dust, industrial dyes for unfair gains and brightening up the color.
Avoid eating undercooked food, especially while you're eating out. Undercooked food can contain bacteria that can cause you upset stomach.
Avoid consumption of unwashed fruits and vegetables, at home or while you eat out. Unwashed fruits and vegetables contains insect faeces, larvae and toxins.
Avoid buying from suspcious food brands. You must always read labels on food package, make informed food choices and educate yourself with common food safety concerns.
Avoid eating processed, industrilized food which contains high residues of pestisides and chemical additives. Be aware and find out if there are home grown, or naturally grown fruits and vegetables that you can opt for.
There are more precautions that you can take but you can start with these 5 must knows. Besides this you can also practise healthy habits at home. Here are 5 simple things you can do to keep food safe at home:
Keep food surfaces clean: Wash your hands before handling food and often during food preparation. Wash and sanitize all surfaces, equiptments used for food preparation. You can also protect your kitchen area and food from insects, pests and other animals.
Seperate raw and cooked food: You need to separate raw meat, poultry, seafood from other foods. Take the time to store food in containers and avoid contact between raw and prepared food.
Cook thoroughly: Cook food thoroughly especially meat, poultry, eggs and seafood. You should always re-heat cooked food thouroughly.
Keep food at safe temperatures: Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Always refrigerate cooked and perishable food promptly. But you shouldn't store food too long even in the refrigerator.
Use safe water and clean natural food: Use clean drinking water and treat it to make it safe. Select fresh and wholesome foods. Wah fruits and vegetables throughly if eaten raw.
Reducing the risk of eating unsafe food is in your hands. Though it's difficult to make changes instantly, making informed decisions on where your food comes from, how it's grown, what being added and how it's being processed and packed. After all, caring about the food you eat is a matter of your health and the health of your loved ones. You can start right now . Do you have any concerns, questions or experiences on food safety concerns? Share it with us in the comment section below.