After the recent deadly outbreak of Listeriosis, we’re once again left to wonder: how safe is our food? Here are some ways to protect yourself.
Read and follow all package labels and instructions on food preparation and storage.
After handling foods, especially raw foods such as meat and fish, thoroughly clean and sanitize all surfaces used for food preparation with a kitchen sanitizer or a bleach solution (5 ml household bleach to 750 ml of water), and rinse with water.
To avoid cross-contamination, clean all knives, cutting boards and utensils used with raw food before using them again.
Thoroughly clean fruits and vegetables before you eat them.
Refrigerate or freeze perishable food, prepared food and leftovers within two hours.
Defrost food in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave, but never at room temperature.
Keep leftovers for a maximum of four days only and reheat them to an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F) before eating them.
Check the temperature in your refrigerator using a thermometer to make sure it is at 4°C (40°F) or below. As the storage temperature increases, so does the growth of Listeria in foods.
Frequently wash and disinfect the refrigerator. This will make it less likely for Listeria to be transferred from contaminated food and surfaces to non-contaminated foods.
Unlike most bacteria, Listeria can survive and grow on foods being stored in the refrigerator – but it can be killed off by using proper cooking techniques. Remember foods that are contaminated with Listeria look, smell and taste normal.