ILOILO City – With everyone busy preparing for the holidays, the Department of Health’s Center for Health Development (CHD) in Western Visayas has reminded the public to always prioritize food safety.
Dr. Elvie Villalobos, CHD Region 6 Infectious, Environmental and Occupational Health cluster head, in a press conference Wednesday enumerated five ways to ensure food safety this Christmas season.
Keeping food safe starts with the preparation, she said, adding that everything that will have contact with the food must be clean.
“Wash your hands before handling food,” Villalobos added.
Raw food must also be separated from cooked ones. The DOH official said uncooked food should be washed thoroughly or be half-cooked.
“Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods. Use separate equipment and utensils such as knife and chopping board,” Villalobos said.
She added that food must be cooked thoroughly, especially meat.
Food should also be always kept under safe temperatures.
Cooked foods that are stored in room temperature have to be consumed within four hours or when refrigerated must be stored for not more than seven days.
Villalobos added that water used in cooking have to be potable. “Water is potable when it is analyzed that it has no microorganism,” she said.
From January to October this year, Western Visayas has recorded 19 cases of food poisoning that involved 449 individuals, DOH said.
One of them died. It was recorded early this year in Barangay Abaca in San Enrique, Iloilo. The victim ate a green paddy frog.
In the same period last year, the DOH recorded only 299 cases but 15 deaths.
Of the 15, 11 cases were due to cholera while the four others, due to typhoid fever. (With a report from the Philippine News Agency/PN)