Though some parts of India are still experiencing extreme summer heat, monsoon has arrived in others—and so have the risks for food- and water-borne illnesses. To prevent the risk of these illnesses, ranging from food poisoning to cholera, you need to maintain perfect food safety at home and beyond. Here are all the tips you need to stay safe this monsoon.
India experiences long summers and equally intense monsoons in most parts of the country. This year, monsoon’s arrival has been delayed due to cyclones and other climate issues, which is why some parts of the country are still experiencing heat waves while in others, monsoon has arrived. But no matter when it does arrive, the coming of monsoon season brings with it many food- and water-borne illnesses like food poisoning. Here’s how.
Monsoon, in general, poses many health risks. Heavy rainfall and flooding can lead to the contamination of water sources, including drinking water and irrigation water. This contaminated water can then be used to wash fruits and vegetables or for cooking, posing a risk of waterborne diseases. High humidity and moisture during the monsoon create favorable conditions for the growth of bacteria, molds, and fungi. These microorganisms can contaminate food items, especially perishable foods like dairy products, meat, and cooked dishes.
The monsoon season is also associated with increased insect activity, including flies, mosquitoes, and ants. These insects can contaminate food by landing on it or laying eggs, leading to foodborne illnesses. Improper storage and handling practices during the monsoon season can contribute to food spoilage and contamination. Inadequate refrigeration, failure to cover food properly, and cross-contamination can increase the risk of foodborne illnesses.
All of these risks highlight the importance of adopting proper food safety practices during the monsoon season in India to mitigate the chances of foodborne illnesses. It is always recommended to follow guidelines provided by regulatory authorities and health experts to ensure food safety. So, during the monsoon season, it's important to pay attention to your diet and eating habits to maintain good health and prevent illnesses.
Video Credit: YouTube/Chef Ranveer Brar
Here are some of the best food safety, hygiene and eating tips you need to stay safe this monsoon season.
1. Eat Freshly Cooked Food: Opt for freshly cooked meals prepared at home. Avoid consuming street food or food from unreliable sources, as it may be contaminated.
2. Wash Fruits and Vegetables: Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables with clean water before consuming them to remove any dirt, bacteria, or pesticides.
3. Avoid Raw and Pre-Cut Foods: During the monsoon, the risk of bacterial growth increases. Avoid consuming raw salads, pre-cut fruits, or other uncooked foods that can harbor bacteria. Cook your food properly to kill any potential pathogens.
4. Use Purified Water: Drink purified or boiled water to prevent waterborne diseases. Avoid consuming tap water or any beverages prepared with unfiltered water.
5. Choose Seasonal and Regional Produce: Opt for seasonal fruits and vegetables that are locally available. They are usually fresh, have better nutritional value, and are less likely to be contaminated during transportation.
6. Increase Immunity-Boosting Foods: Include foods rich in Vitamin C, such as oranges, lemons, guavas, and berries, to boost your immune system and protect yourself from common monsoon illnesses.
7. Avoid Seafood and Leafy Greens: In areas prone to water contamination, it is advisable to avoid seafood and leafy greens during the monsoon, as they are more susceptible to contamination.
8. Maintain Hygiene: Wash your hands thoroughly before and after meals to minimize the risk of infections. Keep your kitchen clean and maintain proper food storage practices.
9. Consume Probiotics: Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt can help maintain a healthy gut flora and strengthen your immune system. Include them in your diet during the monsoon.
10. Stay Hydrated: Even though the weather may be cool, it is essential to stay hydrated. Drink an adequate amount of water and consume fluids like herbal teas, soups, and infused water to maintain hydration levels.
11. Be Mindful of Food Storage: In humid conditions, food spoils quickly. Store perishable items in airtight containers in the refrigerator to prevent bacterial growth.
12. Stay Away from Stagnant Water: Avoid consuming food or beverages near stagnant water sources as they can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes and contaminants.