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Different Ways to Prevent Food Borne Illnesses

Different Ways to Prevent Food Borne Illnesses

Hello, first let’s try to understand microorganisms.

Important to understand:

  • They are prevalent everywhere- outside and inside our bodies & in our environment.
  •  All microbes are not infectious (disease causing), many are useful too.
  • Our body has innate Immunity system to deal with microorganisms, and they can recognize the infectious ones and useful ones and act accordingly.
  • We can avoid infectious organisms by certain regular measures 


Another thing we need to understand that microorganisms grow exponentially. That means. 1 organism will form 2, 2 will form 4, 4 will form 8 and so on. For example many bacteria can double in 20 minutes. Potentially one of them can grow to 30,000 in 5 hours and 16 million in 8 hours. It’s mostly the overload of microorganisms which can cause the disease.

All organisms need certain favorable environment to make them grow.

  1. Physical factors- Temperature, pH (level of acidity/ alkalinity/ neutrality), moisture level, rad.
  2. Chemical factors- Presence or absence of oxygen, carbon etc. and certain more chemicals.

For example, we humans like the pleasant temperatures of spring. We feel more energetic and pleasant. When it’s hot and humid, we feel discomfort and start looking for Air conditioners. If we get caught in fire which has very high temperature, it injures us or we may die. If it is very cold like in mountains, we need warm clothes and housing or else we can die of cold. Too much humidity disrupts our system, we feel pressure, and we get sweaty.

It’s not only temperature, if oxygen is less or carbon is more in air, we may die or have disease. If there is any strong chemical leaked in environment then we may have disease or may die.

Same way, all microorganisms have suitable temperatures, need to food, need for oxygen etc. and they die with certain chemicals.

Smart people

We do a lot of things in life which we do to kill or stop microorganisms. We refrigerate or freeze food because most organisms cannot grow in such low temperatures. We boil liquids because most microorganisms die at such high temperatures. We cook food not only to make it more palatable but also to provide enough heat to kill microorganisms. We add spices and salt not only to add taste to diet but also to add chemicals with which organisms can’t live.  


Now we know certain things which are already practicing, which keeps food healthy enough to eat. Here I share more points, of which if there is anything which we are missing, we can add that to stay away from infectious disease.

Different Ways to Prevent Food Borne Illness

1.  Wash hands before eating

Soap contains chemicals which kills microorganisms. Ifwe follow 5 steps  of washing hands and scrub for at least 20 seconds, then we can be sure that infectious organisms will not enter our mouth through hands.

Not only that, brush teeth before sleeping, take bath daily, keep clothes washed, keep house clean, keep outside shoes in shoe racks near main door, clean hands and face when you come home from outside, take bath if coming back from dirty polluted place. Wash hands after you accidentally touch dirty areas.

Most importantly avoid eating from unhygienic food outlets.

2.   Try to not touch face often

The infection enters our body though open pores like nose, eyes, ears, mouth. Hence, we should avoid touching them, we should clean our nose well daily so that we don’t have urge to pick nose. We should keep hair clean so that we don’t scratch often. Also, we should leave habit of biting nails or similar which tend to take our hands unknowingly to face.

3.  Keep Kitchen Clean

We must keep kitchens clean, in fact deep clean. We must wash the containers more often. Keep sink, utensils holders and all surfaces deep clean. Avoid keeping things in open, always cover.

Wash fruits and vegetables after bringing them from market in running water. Wash hands with soap after peeling fruits and vegetables.

4.  Trick of temperatures:

This is the most important to understand. Temperatures are one of the most important measures of avoiding pathogens (infection causing organisms) in food. We have already discussed that low and high temperatures are not favorable for pathogen growth. We also need to understand medium temperature ( 60°C ) is favorable for maximum organisms.

We also need to understand overgrowth of organisms which are usually not infectious can also cause trouble for us.

So when we keep food for long period of time in kitchen after cooking and eat without re-heating, it has more organisms than what our immune system can deal with.

The same happens when we reheat solid food. Even when on stove it takes lot of time for heat to reach the entire solid food, and mostly if we heat it enough to make organisms die, the food will also burn.

Of course we do not become sick every time we eat re-heated solid food, but gradually those pathogens affect our body and our digestion keeps suffering.

Therefore, it is best advisable to cook enough food to eat in one meal and avoid leftovers. Also, we must consume this food within 2 hours without refrigeration or within 4-5 hours with refrigeration or carry in air tight tiffin boxes if going to work.

It is also advisable to reheat only foods which are liquid based, like milk, curry vegetable preparation, dals and pulses, soups etc. These foods can be heated till boiling point for 5 minutes so that maximum pathogens die.

5.  Humidity

moisture also plays important role in growth of pathogens. High moisture foods are the ones which need all the care discussed. Dry foods do not have the same fear. They can be stored well in air tight containers and we are safe from pathogen growth. Air tight containers also cut off oxygen so avoid the growth. Tetrapack for example have the same effect and gives safety.

6.  A word about chemicals

Yes, there are chemicals which can also help in avoiding pathogens. We must also understand that chemicals which can kill or keep pathogens away are not good for our health too. Hence, preserved food which is chemically loaded, may be free from pathogens but has other hazards, because of which we should avoid them.

I would like to end by saying, if we can follow these steps and make them regular habit, we will mostly avoid being sick by pathogens, in fact we can also be soldiers who can fight any pandemic.

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