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As someone with a very sensitive stomach, I’m usually quite particular when it comes to food preparation.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 200 diseases are spread through food. In severe cases, food poisoning can even be critical. Just learning to prepare food in a safer and more hygienic way can help to minimise your risk of consuming contaminated food. Here are four pointers from the WHO that I’m following.

1. Keep clean

Before handling any food, always wash your hands. Prepare your food on clean, sanitised surfaces and make sure no insects, pests, or pets (yes, keep pup away!) get near the food. Wash all fruits and vegetables before consumption. Soak and wash rice before cooking too.

2. Separate raw and cooked

Raw meat can harbour dangerous microorganisms that can contaminate other foods during the preparation process, so don’t mix it with cooked food. Use different chopping boards, and store all food in sealed containers (instead of just plastic bags).

3. Cook thoroughly

As much as you like your eggs runny, it’s always better to thoroughly cook all your food – especially eggs, meat, poultry, and seafood. When it comes to meat, do this simple test: poke the thickest part of the meat and check that the juices run clear, not pink. Heating food to at least 70 deg C usually helps to kill off the dangerous organisms. Use a cooking thermometer to be sure.

4. Keep food at a safe temperature

It’s easy for microorganisms to thrive in Singapore’s hot and humid climate, so don’t leave cooked food out for more than two hours. Instead, refrigerate it if you’re planning to keep it, and heat it before serving. Frozen food should not be thawed at room temperature either.


This story was published in the Jan 2016 issue of SHAPE Singapore. To read about the latest news in health, fitness, beauty and nutrition, check out