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The word ′Delhi Belly′ is a term which is familiar to most foreigners visiting India. The Urban Dictionary defines Delhi Belly as "Diarrhea or dysentery contracted from eating Indian (i.e. from India) food". It is also known as Bombay belly, Traveller′s diarrhea, Montezuma′s revenge (in Mexico), and Karachi crouch in Pakistan. This is said to be because of poor standards of food hygiene practiced by mostrestaurants and street vendors in most developing countries all around the world.
Food hygiene is a broad term which is used to describe the preparation and preservation of foods in a manner that ensures the food is safe for consumption. If sanitary conditions are not maintained or if food is prepared by people who maintain poor personal hygiene, then the food could get contaminated and can spread diseases like salmonella and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Proper food hygiene can help to protect communities and families from contracting these deadly diseases. Practicing food hygiene should not be limited to just the food/hospitality industry, but needs to be applied in our homes as well.
Here are some tips for maintaining food hygiene:
- Wash your hands well with soap and water before and after handling food.
- Clean work surfaces with hot soapy water and rinse well, utensils and equipment like cutting boards, knives, ladles to prevent cross-contamination.
- Wash fruits and vegetables well in flowing fresh water to remove surface dirt and bacteria. You can also scrub it with a vegetable brush if needed. This helps prevent dirt and germs from going into food when sliced with a knife.
- Maintain personal hygiene and avoid touching or picking body parts or areas when preparing food.
- Use fresh dish cloths and hand towels daily .Wash after use and store as dry as possible
- Avoid tasting food with the same ladle directly from the pot. This practice may contaminate the food and introduce microorganisms present in your mouth/saliva.
- Do not smoke while preparing food as cigarette smoke can enter food.
- Keep raw and cooked foods separate to avoid cross-contamination.
- Cover cuts and soars with bandage and avoid touching raw food meant for consumption as salads.
- Keep raw meats refrigerated and wrap it tightly until needed to prevent leakage. Make sure that the fridge temperature is maintained at 5°C and the freezer temperature is at/below -17°C.
- Regularly dispose vegetable peels/scraps, rubbish and other food waste in which bacteria and rats /cockroaches can thrive.
- Keep all food covered to ensure it cannot be contaminated by insects/pests (flies, cockroaches, mice, etc).
Personal hygiene and food safetygo hand in hand in ensuring good health of not only our families but also the community at large. It is therefore important that good hygienic practices should be practiced in order to ensure that eating food in India is not synonymous with the infamous “Delhi Belly”!!
For more information on diet, nutrition, health, weight loss or fitness contact DesiDieter Health and Diet Experts.