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How to protect yourself from foodborne illnesses this holiday season

Published:Saturday | December 26, 2015 | 12:41 AM
The Pan American Health Organization says during the holidays, the risk of foodborne illnesses can be increased by poor handling and inadequate refrigeration of foods prepared ahead of time and in large quantities.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has recommended five keys to safer food for the holiday season.

It notes that more than 210,000 people suffer an episode of foodborne illness everyday in the Americas, including the Caribbean.

The organisation says during the holidays, the risk of foodborne illnesses can be increased by poor handling and inadequate refrigeration of foods prepared ahead of time and in large quantities.

PAHO says the five simple keys to safe and healthy food are to keep it clean, separate raw and cooked, cook thoroughly, keep food at safe temperatures, and use safe water and raw materials.

PAHO’s senior advisor on food-borne diseases, Dr Enrique Perez, says they are simple and practical, and can be applied in people’s home, as well as in food establishments.

PAHO says food prepared and consumed at home are responsible for about a third of outbreaks of foodborne illness.

It says food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or harmful chemicals cause over 200 diseases, from diarrhea to cancer.