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Ways to Spot Contaminated Food; Know More

Foodborne illnesses are caused by eating contaminated food. It affects millions of people worldwide each year.

Sarbani Bhattacharjee
You can be a food detective; here's how (This image has been created with MidJourney)
You can be a food detective; here's how (This image has been created with MidJourney)

While the thought of consuming bacteria-laden stale food might send shivers down your spine, there is some good news: you can become a food safety detective and significantly reduce your risk. Here is how to identify contaminated food before it lands on your plate (or worse, in your stomach!)

Our senses are powerful tools in the fight against foodborne illness, so watch out for:

The Mouldy Menace: Mould is a giveaway for spoilage. Fuzzy patches on fruits, vegetables, or bread are a clear sign that these items have passed their prime. Avoid them at all costs!

Discolored Items: Fresh meat should have a vibrant red color for beef or pale pink for poultry. If you see a greyish discoloration, it is best to dump it right then and there. Similarly, fruits and vegetables with dull or discolored patches might be harbouring unwanted bacteria.

Texture Tells Tales: Fresh produce should be firm to the touch. Mushy fruits or vegetables with a slimy texture could be contaminated. When it comes to meat, firmness is key. Avoid meat that feels sticky or slimy.

Sometimes, the danger is not very readily apparent.

The Pungent Odour: Our sense of smell is a vital tool. Fresh food should have a pleasant aroma. A foul odor, sour smell, or anything ammonia-like indicates spoilage and potential bacterial growth.

Packaging Spoils: Packaging can reveal hidden dangers. Leaking, spillage, or damaged packages could be a sign of bacterial contamination or improper storage. Look for any signs of tampering with sealed packages as well.

If you are unsure about the safety of any food item, err on the side of caution and discard it.  It is always better to be safe than sorry. Besides, food labels are a treasure trove of information.  Always check the "use by" or "best before" date.  This tells you the timeframe during which the food is considered safe for consumption. Additionally, follow any specific storage instructions on the label to keep your food fresh and safe.

So, the next time you are out grocery shopping or preparing a meal, don your invisible detective hat and sniff out any potential dangers. Your stomach will thank you for it!

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