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Friday June 21, 2024

Hygiene practices can protect health

By Ibne Ahmad
May 24, 2024
This representational picture shows a woman experiencing stomach pain. — Unsplash/File
This representational picture shows a woman experiencing stomach pain. — Unsplash/File

The food poisoning cases serve as a sobering reminder of the critical need to prioritize and strengthen hygiene practices in our food handling and preparation systems. Examination of the cases reveals a broader narrative that extends beyond a single source of contamination.

“Addressing the root causes of such outbreaks requires a multifaceted approach, encompassing education, regulation, and community engagement,” said food safety experts

“The presence of harmful bacteria in the contaminated food indicates lapses in hygiene practices. The bacteria is a culprit behind foodborne illnesses and is associated with inadequate sanitation and improper food handling. However, it is crucial to recognize that the issue extends beyond an isolated incident,” says Dr. Mahboob Malik, chief medical officer of a private hospital. “There is a need for comprehensive hygiene training programs encompassing all stakeholders in the food chain, from producers to consumers. By implementing rigorous educational initiatives, we can ensure that individuals handling food are equ­ipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to maintain proper hygiene throughout the process,” say experts and researchers in food safety.

“This could include training programs on handwashing techniques, safe food storage practices, and proper cleaning and sanitization methods for utensils and food preparation areas,” they add. “Strict rules and their implementation are key to upholding and maintaining hygiene standards in food. Regular inspections and monitoring mechanisms can be crucial safeguards against gaps in cleanliness and food safety code of behaviour. By promoting a culture of compliance, we can significantly reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses and protect public health,” says Esa Zaidi, a food safety expert.

“Community engagement and awareness campaigns can play a pivotal role in transforming hygiene practices. By establishing partnerships with local organizations, health authorities can disseminate vital information regarding safe food handling, storage, and consumption practices. By actively involving the community in initiatives and emphasizing the shared responsibility for food safety, we can foster a culture of vigilance and collective action,” adds Esa.

“Advancements in technology offer promising avenues for improving food safety. Innovations such as smart sensors and traceability systems can enhance transparency and accountability in the food supply chain. These tools enable swift identification of potential contamination sources and facilitate targeted interventions to prevent outbreaks. Embracing these technologies can bolster consumer confidence and elevate food safety standards,” says Shabbir Hussain, a food safety researcher.

“It is essential to recognize that the responsibility for ensuring safe food practices lies not only with the authorities but also with individuals. Consumers must be empowered with the knowledge about food safety measures such as proper cooking temperatures, the risks associated with cross-contamination, and the importance of reading and understanding food labels,” adds Shabbir.Dr. Najaf Ali says, “By making informed choices and demanding higher standards, consumers can influence the food industry to prioritize safety and quality.”