Filipinos enjoy social gatherings, and that includes eating savory dishes. But with the recent incident of food poisoning during the 90th birthday celebration of Imelda Marcos, how do we prevent this awful experience to our guests?
First, we define what is Food Poisoning. It is an illness caused by the consumption of food or water contaminated with bacteria and/or their toxins, or with parasites, viruses, or chemicals. If you are infected with this, you would experience one or more of the following symptoms:
It can already be called a Food Poisoning Outbreak when there is a minimum of 2 persons showing gastrointestinal symptoms, together with evidence of food as a source.
There are 4 things to remember to avoid the likeliness of experiencing this unfortunate event of food poisoning that caused commotion during the celebration that was mentioned. They are as follows:
Practice strict personal hygiene
Whether you are the cook, the server or the helper, as long as you know that you will be handling the food during the party, you must be responsible in washing your hands with soap and clean running water. Do this as often as possible – before, during, and after preparing the food; after touching the garbage; after using the toilet; after touching something from the floor; after touching dirty surfaces; after touching body parts; and even after changing tasks like from handling raw meat to cooked food.
Aside from hand washing, as a food handler you must also prevent contaminating the food by touching it with any part of your body, such has hair, nose and elbows. If you can use tools like mask, hair net, food-grade gloves, etc, then it is way better.
Cook all foods adequately
I am no cook but when I bake chicken, I always double check with Google what is the internal temperature of a baked chicken. As a cook for social gatherings’ menu, you must be responsible to get your hand onto the Food Safety Guides. The guide is important to understand in avoiding food poisoning. It covers not only on the cooking aspect but also on the proper food storage, and anything under the sun that are must-know in food preparation.
Avoid cross-contamination of raw and cooked foods
A good example of bacteria from raw meat is Salmonella. Poultry may carry salmonella. If in case, someone is assisting a cook with a chicken dish then suddenly that assisting person handed out a newly cooked dish out of the kitchen without proper handwashing, there could be a risk of cross-contamination. And even the cooked dish was properly cooked, it can cause food poisoning once eaten because it has already been contaminated.
Keep all foods at appropriate temperatures
The temperature danger zone is food temperatures between 41 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit (5 – 57.22 degress Celsius), and the most rapid bacteria growth occurs between 70 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit (21-51.67 degrees Celsius). The longer food sits in this temperature range, the greater the risk that bacteria will begin to grow on your food. Once the bacteria has grown to a dangerous level, the food is already spoiled and can immediately cause food poisoning. No one wants to eat that so the server should be aware of this information, which can be available for free all over the internet.
There you have it! Now, with all those in mind, you are all set to serve food to your guests!