CAC calls on consumers to be careful to avoid food poisoning during yuletide season

Thursday, December 06, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — As the festive season approaches, Jamaicans are being warned by the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) that the risk of food poisoning is especially high during the busy season.

Communication Specialist at the CAC, Dorothy Campbell, is advising consumers of measures to employ as they handle their food during the holidays.

“Consumers need to ensure that the places they are purchasing food from are adhering to food-safety regulations, whether it's from the market, supermarket or meat shop,” Campbell said, as she addressed a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) 'Think Tank' recently.

Tips were also shared on how to prepare food to minimise the risk of food poisoning.

“Persons must ensure that they separate raw from cooked food to avoid contamination that can lead to food poisoning and hospitalisation. Make certain that the food is clean when you are preparing it [and] have a separate cutting board for meats and vegetables. You also need to constantly wash your hands while cooking,” she emphasised.

The communication specialist noted that young people and the elderly are particularly vulnerable because their immune systems are easily compromised.

Campbell said that the quality of cooked food can be affected during storage.

“Apportion your foods before storing them, so that when you reheat the food you don't reheat the entire amount and then put it back into the refrigerator, to avoid bacteria entering the food. If you have the food out for more than two hours, especially if you add sauces or condiment to the food, it tends to spoil quickly, so try and store the food early so you don't put your family at risk,” she advised.

Families who will not be cooking for the holiday period also received advice from Campbell.

“If you are eating out, ensure that the environment in which you are taking your family for Christmas is one that you can trust that the food is being prepared in a clean environment. We encourage consumers to take precaution when purchasing street foods such as jerk chicken or pork, soup and crab, to ensure it's from reputable persons,” she added.

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