The warning against food-borne diseases by Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go, acting director general of the Food and Drug Administration, is very timely this Christmas and New Year.
People have to ensure that food is safe, starting from preparation to storage. Everyone who handles food should remember or should be reminded constantly about the importance of hand-washing every step of the way. Making sure that food is cooked properly is also important.
Hartigan-Go stressed the need to keep perishable goods in a cool place which, for most people, means the refrigerator or freezer “as bacteria will multiply every minute if the fresh produce is left for hours” in the open.
Since the holiday season is synonymous with lots of food including leftovers, let us be certain that our refrigerators and freezers will have space for whatever we need to stock on. We likewise have to get rid of foodstuff that should have been discarded weeks, even months ago; and know what to do with leftovers.
I myself often put food in the refrigerator and then forget about them. I only remember when I have to find space for other food.
As the holiday madness approaches, clean your refrigerator thoroughly and get rid of spoiled food.
The basic rule, of course, is first in, first out—food placed in the refrigerator earlier should be at the front, and newer stuff at the back. With transparent food containers now available at low prices, you can use as many of them to organize your ref. Label each one, indicating what is in the container and the date it was put there, to make it easier to pinpoint which food should be used first.
Find out the expiration dates of items you put in the ref. If these are not on the labels, Google them. There is useful information available on the Internet.
Remember that even if you put perishable food in the ref or the freezer, they can still spoil. Seafood, for instance, has a shorter shelf life than meats.
Hartigan-Go said that meat or fish should be thawed by transferring it from the freezer to the refrigerator, where it should be kept overnight. “Use of running water in thawing can contaminate meat,” he pointed out.
He also noted that fruits and vegetables should be washed before they are stored in the ref, because they might contain bacteria that could contaminate other food products.
The FDA official added, “As a general rule, food must not be left (in the) open for more than two hours.” So, put on the table only what would be enough for your family or guests. A table overflowing with food may look impressive, but can be hazardous to your health.
As the weather continues to be unpredictable—hot and humid in the daytime and cooler, even rainy, at night—it is best to boost your immunity for the coming holidays. Although nothing beats getting your vitamins and minerals from natural sources, many of us are unable to get the recommended daily allowance for certain nutrients.
Hence, the need for vitamin supplements. But many people find pills hard to swallow, literally. If you are one of them, you may want to try the chewable Poten-Cee Vitamin C tablets from Pascual Laboratories, Inc. which come in 500- or 1,000-milligram doses. Poten-Cee is also available in syrup and drops (for children) and sugar-coated, sugar-free or forte tablets.
Pascual also manufactures Ascof tablets and capsules—the original lagundi-based formulation for coughs and asthma developed by University of the Philippines scientists led by Dr. Nelia Maramba. Don’t let any clown tell you it is not effective.
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