Food experts on Wednesday urged Nigerians, especially mothers and food vendors, to always keep their kitchen areas and utensils clean, as most food-related illnesses could be traced to poor hygiene.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, they said that people should always cultivate the habit of keeping their kitchens and restaurants clean.
Mrs Funke Ibitola said that kitchen harbours more bacteria and germs than any other room in the home and these germs are causes of food infection.
“Eating food that contains harmful bacteria, toxins, parasites, viruses, and chemical contaminants can cause illness.
“Pregnant women, young children, older people, and anyone with a weakened immune system are at high risk.
“Part of a healthy diet is making sure that the food that you eat retained their nutrients and won’t make someone sick.
“Some people can shake off the unpleasant symptoms of food “poisoning” in a matter of hours or days, but for other people, food contamination can be fatal.
Ibitola, however, gave some guidelines on proper food hygiene.
“To ensure that the healthy food you bring into the house stays clean, wash your hands and surfaces with soap and rinse it well.
“Separate raw foods, that will be eaten raw such as salads, from contamination by separating them from raw foods that must be cooked, such as meat, eggs, and poultry,” she advised.
Meanwhile, the coordinator of Easy Healthy kids and Family Meals, Mrs Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo identify sink holes, fridges, plate racks, cutting boards, napkins as other major places that can harbour germs.
She said that those places mentioned could harbour so many unseen germs if not properly taken care of.
“Some people have not washed their fridges in the last six months and yet they keep their food in it.
“It is not a good idea to wash foods in the sink as it harbours more bacteria, wash napkins regularly and keep plate racks clean.
“Even plastic food storage containers often have rubber seals or other components, which are most vulnerable to bacteria and germs growth due to their porous nature.
“Clean kitchen utensils thoroughly with hot water and a food friendly disinfectant frequently to avoid build up of germs and bacteria,” Onigbanjo said.