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Tips for Preventing Food Borne Disease

Thermoformed trays

It seems like every other month we hear another story about a recalled food item. The food item was handled improperly or was not packaged correctly, allowing harmful contaminants to get into it. It is likely that you have already consumed the item by the time the news is released. You might be able to explain a sudden ill feeling the day you ate and you can only hope that there are no lasting effects to the recalled item. A lot goes into the safe handling and packaging process of the products that you consume. To avoid food borne illnesses, always check your food and drinks for the following factors.

Freshness date Many people assume that because it is still on the shelf, it is still fresh. However, grocery stores can make mistakes. They can forget to remove expired foods, or they could miss one or two items. Always check the date of any items that you purchase. It can also be helpful to find a product with the longest expiration date, giving you longer to enjoy the item. Products in thermoform packaging tend to be better sealed and more resistant to temperature changes.

If possible, open and look at the item This is not always possible, especially if the product is tightly thermoform packaging sealed. However, with eggs, fruits, and vegetables, thoroughly examine the items. If you noticed any cracked eggs or discolored fruits, choose a different item. Cracked eggs can contaminate the surrounding eggs outer shells, making them more dangerous for handling.

Examine the packaging When products are supposed to be sealed, examine the thermoform packaging and ensure that they are properly sealed. Food vacuum pouches are often uses to seal the product without any air. Ensure that the food packaging containers are tightly sealed with no holes. If you notice any loose holes, the packaging machines did not properly seal the vacuum pouches and it is possible that harmful contaminants made it into the product. Check all lidding to ensure that it is also sealed.

Go home immediately after shopping Some food borne illnesses are the result of leaving refrigerated foods out for too long. If you choose your refrigerated items first, walk around the entire store making your other selections, and then make other errands on the way home, your food may already be spoiled. Grab your milk, eggs, and cheeses at the end of your shopping trip and then immediately go home. If you live far from the store, consider purchasing a cooler to store the items in until you are home.

Invest in a vacuum sealer at home Many food borne illnesses are the result of improper sealing at home. Vacuum sealers can properly seal your foods for later use. They can also make your food items last longer, which can be a nice financial bonus. Vacuum sealers preserve food 3 to 5 times longer than food stored in plastic bags or containers. Use your vacuum sealer for your meats and other leftover food items before freezing them.

Store your items at an appropriate temperature Depending on the food items that you and your family consume, your refrigerator needs to be set at a specific temperature. Cold temperatures keep harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying. Refrigerators should be set no higher than 40 degrees F and freezers set at 0 degrees F. You can play around with the settings to figure out how much lower than those temperatures you prefer.

Each year roughly 1 out of 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases. Although all of these diseases cannot be entirely prevented, you can take important steps in preventing the likeliness of foodborne illnesses. Purchase items that are sealed properly with thermoform packaging. Look for fresh products and store them properly. Always throw out food that do not look or smell right. Proper prevention is necessary when preventing illness from foodborne diseases.