BIRDEM nutrition chief Shamsunnaher Nahid has listed a set of eight instructions to keep food safe, both in restaurants and at home.
‘Burnt oil cannot be used for frying food,’ said Shamsunnaher. She said that we must see to it that used oil was discarded right away.
She believed that it was a common practice among restaurants and households to preserve burnt oil for reuse to save expenses.
She said that hydrogenation in burnt oil resulted in production of transfat which is harmful for the heart, liver and digestive organs.
‘Raw eggs should not be used for preparing mayonnaise,’ said Shamsunnaher. The white part of egg naturally contains salmonella bacteria which might cause diarrhoea and dysentery, she pointed out.
He said that the bacteria could have negative impacts on the health of pregnant women as well and their unborn children.
‘Avoid using bright-coloured sauces,’ said Shamsunnaher. She explained that it is highly likely for bright-coloured sauces to contain textile dyes which have carcinogenic properties.
She suggested that consumers made it point to avoid eating sauces and tomato ketchup in restaurants for they are also prepared using preservatives, high amount of salt and alternative sugar.
She said that it could lead to high blood pressure, cause diabetes and cancer.
‘Raw meat and fish must be kept in deep freeze and never with cooked foods,’ said Shamsunnaher. She said that microbial organisms present in raw meat and fish is easily passed on to cooked foods when they are kept side by side.
She also put an emphasis on cooking food at the right temperature to keep their nutrition quality intact. For instance, she said, overcooking destroys some vitamins and minerals in foods.
He said that in many cases food poisoning is caused by foods not preserved at the right temperature.
‘Sale of stale food must be prevented,’ said Shamsunnaher. She explained that stale food could be contaminated with many kinds of mold and bacteria and could lead to many diseases.
‘Foods must be prepared hygienically,’ said Shamsunnaher.
She added that kitchen must be kept clean by way of ensuring regular pest control while hands should be washed properly before preparing foods – both are an imperative.
Utensils used in restaurants and households also need to be kept squeaky clean properly and same water should not be used for washing dishes.
She also recommended that safe water should be used for cleaning utensils, especially plates, for they could cause waterborne diseases like jaundice and typhoid.
Shamsunnaher said that it is better not to use tap water during any stage of cooking.
It is important to learn to cook food in a way that does not destroy its inherent quality unless it would fail to fulfil the need of the body, she observed.
‘Lack of nutrition is manifested in malnutrition while it also leads to various other complicacies,’ said Shamsunnaher, adding that the rate of malnutrition is very high in Bangladesh.
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