Food, when handled, stored or prepared incorrectly, carry a higher risk of causing food poisoning. The experts point out to the increased number of food poisoning cases during summer, and make some vital recommendations about preventing food being contaminated with bacteria during the Feast of the Sacrifice, or Kurban Bairam.
Prof. Dr. Nazan Turhan, Head of IUE Department of Food Engineering, reminded about the World Health Organization’s announcement on unsafe foods containing harmful bacteria, viruses, and chemicals, causing more than 200 diseases-from diarrhea to cancer. Prof. Dr. Turhan said, “Food poisonings contribute to 420,000 deaths worldwide every year. Microorganisms that cause food poisoning need certain nutritional elements, temperature, water, and some even need oxygen to reproduce. Under ideal circumstances, a microorganism may produce one billion microorganisms in 12 hours, or they die within seconds when the circumstances are not ideal. It takes certain amount of reproduction in food in order for a microorganism to cause food poisoning”.
“Do not keep cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours!”
Prof. Dr. Turhan pointed that high protein foods such as meats, dairy, fish, etc. were spoilt quickly and carried a potential danger. Prof. Dr. Turhan stated that there was a certain method to preserve cooked food. “The inner temperature reaching a 740 centigrade and above while cooking ensures the safety of the food in microbiological terms. This temperature plays an important role in eliminating or passivating the pathogens that cause food poisonings. However, if the cooked food is not stored incorrectly, these passive microorganisms may become active again. Cooked food should not be kept at room temperature for more than 2 hours. It should not be left on the counter to cool down. Many meals will be cooked during the holidays. Make sure to refrigerate them on time if you do not want your holiday ruined,” said Prof. Dr. Turhan.
‘Do not re-heat the food’
Prof. Dr. Turhan, who suggested that hot meals should be cooled down in containers with cold water, and by changing its water frequently, stated the following:
“Cold environment never kills the microorganisms or bacteria that cause food poisoning. Microorganisms continue to reproduce quickly once they reach a certain temperature again. Room temperature is an ideal environment for microorganisms to reproduce. Re-heating the food should not be done for more than once. You should always re-heat the amount you will consume.”