Do you want to survive a crisis situation? Of course, you do or you wouldn’t be preparing the way you do. During your prepping, don’t overlook such critical aspects proper sanitation and be sure to maintain high standards of cleanliness when preparing foods. Here are six short cases to make the point.
1. Proper sanitation and safe cooking practices are as important, if not more so, during a crisis than during other times. If you get ill, you may not be able to access medical care in a timely manner -if at all. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 48 million Americans get sick from food poisoning every year. That is 1 in 6 Americans!
Out of the 48 million 128,000 are hospitalized while 3,000 die from the foods they eat. The main culprit is Salmonella while Norovirus accounts for 60 percent of cases and rounding out the top causes, are E.coli0157, Listeria and Campylobacter (Center For Disease Control and Prevention, 2012).
2. Proper food handling and sanitation are important in helping prevent foodborne illnesses. In most cases, it is simply cross contamination that causes some foods to become contaminated. During food preparation, people may not be thinking and will handle raw chicken or ground beef and then, without washing their hands or changing gloves, handle foods that do not require cooking such as lettuce for salads.
Foods cooked to the proper internal temperature will kill the bacterium that causes foodborne illnesses. For ground beef and chicken/poultry, respectively the internal temperature needs to be at a minimum 160?F/71?C and 165?F/73.8?C.
3. Disasters can disrupt water supplies, but this does not mean that surfaces, where food is prepared, do not have to be properly sanitized, and that people do not need to sanitize their hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Personal hygiene is important to help stop the spread of bacteria from surfaces to food.
Common household bleach mixed with water will destroy bacteria on food preparation and other surfaces. One tablespoon (tbsp) of bleach to one quart of water can be used to sanitize plastic/nylon/glass cutting boards, countertops and any other non-porous surface in your home. Do not use the solution to wash your hands.
4. Many emergency foods are fully cooked products, such as pre-packaged dehydrated foods or meals ready to eat. However, once opened the food must be eaten or refrigerated. Bacteria will begin to grow on food within the first few hours.
Foods contain moisture, which is what bacteria need to breed. You have to plan carefully and not open up or cook more food than what can be consumed immediately unless you have refrigeration.
5. Do not allow food waste or spoiled foods to gather inside the home. Once the power goes out refrigerated foods can last between four and six hours. Cook what you can immediately and discard the rest. It is recommended that you bury all garbage to help control the spread of bacteria and to prevent insect and rodent infestations.
As part of your emergency supplies, you can stockpile lime to help control bacteria and odor in garbage pits and outdoor latrines. Lime can be purchased at any home and garden store and some are specifically for outdoor latrines.
6. It is important that every household member understands the importance of hand washing after bathroom breaks. You may not have running hot water but water-less wipes can be used along with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Alcohol will destroy the bacteria on your hands while washing vigorously with soap and water will remove the bacteria.
Got more ideas? Have you done anything special you want to share? Please add comments below and help spread the word because the advise your friends and neighbors receive now, just might prevent you from getting sick later.