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Food-hygiene tips for the monsoon season that can literally save you a trip to the hospital

It’s monsoon time again! The monsoon signals the end of the scorching summer heat and brings a sigh of relief to everyone around. While this season is a time for enjoyment, it’s also a time when you need to be extra careful about infections–gastrointestinal infections, in particular.
We got in touch with Dr Saurabh Arora, Founder, FoodSafetyHelpline.com and asked him about the precautionary measures one needs to take when it comes to food hygiene in the monsoon.
During the rainy season, the moisture in the air increases to very high levels, and so do the microbes. In particular, the fungi tends to grow and multiply profusely in such conditions and spoils food easily.
Here are 7 tips that you should follow for food safety.
  • Food can cause gastric problems: Troublesome foods include various types of snacks made using mashed potatoes, which might be kept in the open for long. One of the most common snacks in this category is samosas. Other oily snacks include paneer pakoras, which might cause gastric problems if the ingredients are not fresh. Fermented food items like chhole bhature can be spoiled by fungi that flourish in he humid conditions prevailing during the rainy season. As a general rule of thumb, all types of spicy and oily foods should be consumed in moderation.
  • The storage of cooked food is very important: Prepared food should ideally be consumed hot, soon after cooking. In case it has to be consumed later, it should be quickly covered and refrigerated, in order to avoid microbial contamination. It is to be noted that while storing food in the refrigerator, cooked food should be stored in the upper shelves, while raw food in lower shelves.
  • Bread and other bakery products to be consumed as soon as possible: Cakes, pastries and confectionery items are particularly susceptible to spoilage by moulds. Therefore, you must not keep these food items exposed to the moist air for long periods. You should consume these items as soon as they are taken out of their airtight packets. Since cakes and confectionery items contain sugar, these are a rich source of nutrients for bacterial growth. This is another reason why these food items shouldn’t be kept out in the open for long. Care should also be exercised with milk and milk products, as these are susceptible to contamination and spoilage by microorganisms too.
  • Don’t keep sliced pieces of fruits out in the open: Fruits should ideally be consumed as soon as they are cut, to avoid any contamination with microbes. Likewise, fruit juices should also be consumed fresh and not stored for later consumption.
  • Kitchen must be clean and dry: It must also be ensured that the kitchen, and in particular the food preparation area, should be kept clean and hygienic in order to avoid any chances of microbial contamination during the process of food preparation.
  • Water-borne infections are at an all-time high: Personal hygiene is very important during the monsoon season, as during this time skin infections tend to sky-rocket. Water-borne infections can lead to gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, and even serious diseases like typhoid and cholera during the monsoon months, particularly due to a weakened immune system.
  • Avoiding street food is a good option: You must be careful while consuming certain types of food like pakodas, samosas and fermented food items. Moreover, the water used for preparing street food favourites like golgappas and chaats are likely to be contaminated, and there is a chance of contracting water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid.
  • If these simple precautions and hygienic practices are followed, this will enable you and your family to enjoy and appreciate the true beauty of the monsoon season.