Food safety tips for Dubai summer

The Dubai Municipality has intensified its precautionary procedures to preserve foodstuff by conducting several inspection and disinfection campaigns.

The Municipality kicked off its week-long activities from April 15. The campaign, set to close on April 21, is being organised under the slogan, “Together for Food Safety”. A conference on Food Safety Trends was held at the Meydan Hotel on April 15.

On April 16, the Municipality held a special food safety awareness programme for its staff at its headquarters. The event included seminars on significant food safety-related issues and an exhibition.

The seminar discussed subjects such as How to Eat Healthy at Work, Key Steps to Prevent Food Poisoning while Travelling, Know about Food Allergies, Keeping your Family Food Safe, and Ask the Experts about Food Safety and Nutrition.

The three sessions of the Food Safety Trends conference were short one-day workshops targeting food safety professionals and the food industry. These workshops saw a diverse range of topics addressed, including epidemiological investigations of food poisoning outbreaks, sea food fraud and the use of technology and big data in food safety.

Be wary about food safety

Scorching temperatures and unreliability of the electricity supply isn’t helping, as refrigerators stay off for a good part of the day due to power outages. All this combines to create the perfect environment that allows germs and bacteria to breed, resulting in food poisoning that causes stomach disorders.

According to the World Health Organisation, the five keys to safer food are the following: (1) keep clean, (2) separate raw and cooked food, (3) cook food thoroughly, (4) keep food at safe temperatures, (5) use safe water and raw materials

The cooked food should be consumed within four hours and food should be refrigerated promptly. It, therefore, becomes extremely important to maintain some basic rules for health and hygiene when it comes to food and drink.

Here are some tips that can come in handy:

Maintain hygiene: Wash hands before cooking and after handling raw meat, fish and poultry. Dry hands with a clean towel. Make a habit of wearing an apron in the kitchen. Avoid cooking and touching food items if you have cold, runny nose or fever. Before handling food, make sure that all cooking surfaces are spotlessly clean. Wash all utensils with soap and water. Preferably use a separate chopping board for meat.

Clean your produce: With growing concern about pesticide residues remaining on the surface of fruits and vegetables, it will be a good idea to soak them in lukewarm water with some salt and vinegar for two hours. Before eating (fruits) or cooking (vegetables), wash them under running tap water to get rid of any last traces of pesticides.

Maintain correct temperature: This is the most relevant tip for maintaining food safety during the hot summer months. The temperature of the refrigerator must be maintained at four degree celsius and the freezer at -15 to -18 degree celsius. Store away raw meat and poultry in the freezer compartment.

When required, thaw out in the refrigerator compartment itself, but separate from other items of food. Make sure to thaw the meat thoroughly. Marinate the meat in the fridge; use the sauce only for cooking, and not for serving. Never serve cooked meat on the same plate used for marinating. Once served, food should not be kept outside for more than two hours. If eating outdoors, use a chiller box with plenty of ice packs. Use separate boxes for food and beverages. Avoid opening the box too often to maintain the cool temperature inside. Also, avoid exposure of the chiller box to direct sunlight.

Safety tips for outdoor picnics: Food safety begins with proper hand cleaning – including outdoor settings. Before you begin setting out your picnic feast, make sure hands and surfaces are clean. If you don’t have access to running water, simply use a water jug, soap, and paper towels; or consider using disposable wet wipes for cleaning hands.



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