In light of the recent egg recall, food awareness has become a major topic of discussion. Where does your food really come from? Are you putting the purest things in your body or are you slowly junking your system up on a daily basis? Are you taking every precaution to prevent a spread of disease or bacteria? The following tips will help you decide.
1. Wash hands often. Proper hand washing may eliminate nearly half of all cases of food-borne illness and significantly reduce the spread of the common cold and flu. (ADA)
2. Keep raw meats and ready-to-eat foods separate. Juices from raw meats or germs from unclean objects can accidentally touch cooked or ready-to-eat foods and cross-contamination occurs. (ADA)
3. When selecting fresh cut produce — such as a half a watermelon or bagged mixed salad greens — choose only those items that are refrigerated or surrounded by ice. (FDA)
4. Buy eggs only if sold from a refrigerator or refrigerated case. Open the carton and make sure that the eggs are clean and the shells are not cracked. Store eggs in their original carton and use them within 3 weeks for best quality. (FDA)
5. If you’re concerned about pesticides, peel your fruits and vegetables and trim outer leaves of leafy vegetables in addition to washing them thoroughly. (Mayo)
6. Try organic foods. Conventional growers use pesticides to protect their crops from molds, insects and diseases. Some people buy organic food to limit their exposure to these residues. (Mayo)
7. Shop directly from farmers markets as opposed to the grocery store.
8. Check the origin label. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) laws took effect in March, and the new labels will help consumers discover exactly where their food is coming from. (CB)
9. When choosing fish, whole fish and filets should have firm, shiny flesh and bright red gills free from slime. Dull flesh could mean the fish is old. The flesh should spring back when pressed. (FDA)
10. Always check the “sell-by” dates printed on some products, and only buy items within that time frame.
(Sources: Fda.gov, Mayoclinic.com, Chefsblade.monster.com, Eatright.org)