10 Essential Food Safety Tips For AIDS Sufferers
by Terry Nicholls
Persons with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) are especially susceptible to illness from food-borne pathogens. Because they're at higher risk for severe illness or death, affected persons must be vigilant when handling and cooking foods. Here are some recommendations to help prevent bacterial food-borne illness.
1. When shopping for raw and cooked perishable foods, be sure the food is being stored at a safe temperature in the store. Don't select perishable food from a non-refrigerated aisle display. Never choose packages which are torn or leaking.
2. When ordering food from the deli department, be sure the clerk washes his hands between handling raw and cooked items or puts on new plastic gloves. Don't buy cooked ready-to-eat items which are touching raw items or are displayed in the same case.
3. Don't buy cans that are dented, leaking, or bulging; food in cracked glass jars; or food in torn packaging. Tamper- resistant safety seals should be intact. Safety buttons on metal lids should be down and should not move or make a clicking noise when pushed. Do not use any product beyond its expiration date!
4. Immediately refrigerate or freeze perishable foods after transporting them home. Make sure thawing juices from meat and poultry do not drip on other foods. Leave eggs in their carton for storage and don't place them in the door of the refrigerator. Keep the refrigerator clean.
5. Food stored constantly at 0 °F will always be safe. Only the quality suffers with lengthy storage. It's of no concern if a product date expires while the product is frozen. Freezing keeps food safe by preventing the growth of micro- organisms that cause both food spoilage and food-borne illness. Once thawed, however, these microbes can again become active so handle thawed items as any perishable food.
6. Store canned foods and other shelf stable products in a cool, dry place. Never put them above the stove, under the sink, in a damp garage or basement, or any place exposed to high or low temperature extremes.
7. Wash hands, utensils, can openers, cutting boards, and countertops in hot, soapy water before and after coming in contact with raw meat, poultry, or fish.
8. Many cases of food-borne illness are caused by take-out, restaurant, and deli-prepared foods. Avoid the same foods when eating out as you would at home. Meat, poultry, and fish should be ordered well done; if the food arrives undercooked, it should be sent back.
9. Wash cutting boards with hot, soapy water after each use; then rinse and air dry or pat dry with fresh paper towels. Non-porous acrylic, plastic, or glass boards and solid wood boards can be washed in an automatic dishwasher (laminated boards may crack and split).
10. Do not eat raw or undercooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs. For people with AIDS, the most important thing is to use a meat thermometer to be sure meat, fish, eggs, and casseroles reach at least 160 °F. Roast whole poultry to 180 °F; poultry breasts to 170 °F. When reheating foods in the microwave, cover and rotate or stir foods once or twice during cooking and check the food in several spots with a thermometer.
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