Safety of Fruits and Vegetables

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In 2011, Listeria-contaminated produce caused the deadliest food-borne illness outbreak in the USA in nearly 90 years, leading to 30 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Harmful food-borne pathogens like E. Coli, Salmonella, Listeria and norovirus may contaminate fruits and vegetables from the soil or water or during harvesting. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your risk:

  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting or cooking. Dry with a clean cloth or paper towel to eliminate bacteria.
  • Wash produce even if you plan to peel it before eating. Bacteria present on the outside of foods like melons and bananas can be transferred to the inside when you cut or peel them.
  • Be sure to refrigerate cut or peeled fruits and vegetables within two hours.
  • Avoid produce with mold, bruises or cuts, as these are great places for bacteria to hide and spread rapidly to other places on the fruit.
  • Go early for the best selections.

Information Source: homefoodsafety.org

Travelling by Public Transport, Beware !

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Recently one of our acquaintances was travelling back home from his village with considerable luggage. After he got on to the bus he realized that his expensive mobile phone (a gift from his nephew) was missing. He had placed it securely in the front pocket of his trousers and wondered how it could be stolen. He then recollected a man who was standing at the entrance of the bus and was neither getting in nor allowing people to get in, almost blocking the entry. He could have been the culprit and was surprised at the deftness of the act. Of course he launched a complaint and prays for a positive response

The learning is that while travelling in public transport or even when in crowded places, it is prudent to keep our belongings out-of-site of skilled robbers, may be inside a hand bag/luggage, until we are in a safe place.

Wish they had channelized their superb skills in a positive way. Which reminds me of a kannada movie “Chinnari Mutha” wherein a boy, a skillful pick-pocket, is trained to be a champion sprinter.

FOOD SAFETY : KEEPING AWAY COMMON PESTS (Method 2)

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Did you try out the diatomaceous earth ( https://monsafety.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/food-safety-keeping-away-common-pests/) in my earlier blog ? Never mind, here is another simple solution for cockroaches.

Make a paste of ~1:1tbl spoons of maida and borax/boric acid powder (available at drug store) with milk. Smear a bit of this paste on to thick paper pieces, air dry and place them in cupboards, cabinets, wardrobes and other places at home (paste can directly be pasted on to corners of cabinets, etc). Replace these once in 6 months or earlier depending on the population size. Boric acid desiccates the insects when ingested and kills them. Although borax powder can be directly sprinkled, making a paste prevents them from being air-borne when disturbed. Borax can also be used to kill termites, fire ants, fleas, silverfish, and many other insects. Boric acid is a low-toxicity mineral with insecticidal, fungicidal, and herbicidal properties. Boron (B) is a dietary component, but toxic at higher doses.  However, if the infestation is too high, it is a good idea to use insecticides and use these methods.

Please remember that insignificant amounts of food can be sumptuous meals for these tiny animals. So always clean up rolling pins, roti makers, knives, etc, after use and dispose the waste regularly.

Food Safety : Keeping away common pests

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We all love food and so do co-dwellers in our kitchen. Guessed it? You are right, I am referring to cockroaches. Although we are compassionate beings, we certainly do not want to share our morsel with these insects and we are not yet ready to make them our food. So how do we keep these omnipresent, highly adaptable living beings at bay; I mean without using chemicals/insecticides.

I use 2 simple, physical methods which are safer and they work well, especially for the smaller (Asian/German) cockroaches.

Method 1. Simply sprinkle diatomaceous earth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatomaceous_earth) at the corners, along the walls of cupboards/cabinets. Diatomaceous earth is the soft, sedimentary rock consisting of fossilized remains of diatoms. It dehydrates the insects that come in contact with this powder, thereby killing them. It is commonly used in toothpastes and talcum powders and is not toxic.

Try this and i will refer to the second method in my next blog

Food Safety: Black Spot of Onions

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Yesterday, while cooking I noticed black spots on onions, as shown in the picture below and thought of sharing some information and safety tips.

Black spots of onion is common in humid, tropical climate like ours and also occurs on other peanuts, grapes, etc. What is it ? Commonly called black mold, it is a fungus named Aspergillus niger. It produces billions of spores (which may appear like dust particles to naked eye), which can cause allergic reactions when inhaled and rarely a serious lung disease named aspergillosis, More info at : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspergillus_niger

Can we avoid it ? I have found a simple way out – soaking onions in water, till the outer dry layers are fully soaked and then pealing and washing thoroughly before use. This prevents the spores getting air-borne and inhaled; it is washed away in water. Also helps in peeling onions quickly. Soaking onions is my first task in the kitchen, try it out. Do you have any other tips ?  Please share.

Onion