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Safe Food Selection

Why do we need to select safe food?

Safe food selection is important to prevent food poisoning.

How do you select safe food?

Choose raw food which are fresh

  • Vegetable and fruits
    • Not wilted, dehydrated, discoloured, rotten or with offensive smell
  • Fish
    • Shiny and bright surface and not covered with thick slime
    • Bright and not sunken eyes
    • Fresh and bright red gills (not reddish brown, brown or dry gills)
    • Pleasant odour (not ‘fishy’, stale or putrid)
    • Firm and elastic texture
  • Prawns
    • Undamaged, whole with translucent skin with no black spot
    • No offensive odour
  • Meat
    • Fresh and not slimy
    • Pleasant odour and not putrified
  • Poultry
    • Fresh and not slimy
    • Not discoloured and not having an “off” smell
    • Look for plumpness in the breast and smoothness of the skin
  • Eggs
    • Not cracked or leaking
    • Do not have excessive amount of dirt or feacal material on the shell
  • Cereals/Grains/Nuts
    • Not mouldy
    • Not infested with insects or foreign materials
    • Not adultrated with cheaper ingredients or extraneous matters

Choose processed foods which are safe

  • Canned foods
    • Ends not bulge (blown ends) ,dented, rusted
    • Lids not bulge due to severe dents or retort buckles
    • No leakage
    • Not expired
  • Package foods
    • Intact, not leaking or stained
    • Not using printed material (newspapers or magazines) in contact with food for packaging

Choose foods that are thoroughly cooked

  • Cooked meat should look brown on the inside
  • Cooked chicken should have clear juice and not “pinkish” on poking with fork
  • Cooked fish should be easily separated from the bone and not “pinkish”
  • Eggs yolk and white should be opaque and not clear or translucent

Choose immediately cooked foods

  • Avoid eating food that was prepared too far ahead of consumption
  • Preferably eat food immediately after cooking
  • Reheat thoroughly cooked food which are kept for some time

Choose foods which are stored properly (see Guide to Safe Food Storage)

  • Raw perishable foods(poultry, meat or fish) should be kept at appropriate temperature
  • Cooked foods should not be kept together with raw food
  • Avoid food that is left at room temperature for long period of time(more than four hours)
  • Wrap or cover your food for storing
  • Cover properly ready to eat food for display

Choose clean food premises

  • Not located very near to the roadside and heavy traffic
  • Not near to animal husbandries, drains or septic tank
  • Have basic amenities such as portable water supply for washing and cleaning ,electricity, proper waste disposal and clean toilets
  • Provide wash basin (sinks) and soap for the customer to wash their hands
  • Using clean glass and plates (not cracked or chipped)
  • Avoid street or hawker stalls which are unhygienic
  • Clean and safe areas for food preparation
  • Free from pests including cats, dogs, rodents, flies, insects, birds and vermin
  • Preferably choose premises with good ratings

Choose food premises which observe good personal hygiene and handling practices

  • Wearing clean and proper attire
  • Wearing head cover (scarf, cap)
  • Have good personal hygiene (short and clean fingernail, not smoking, spitting, coughing onto food, not using bare hands to handle cooked food, use clean towel, not licking and use finger to taste food
  • Do not stack cooked food on top of the other during display, storing or serving.
  • Use separate towels for wiping tables, utensils and for drying hands

Do not prepare food near toilets or drain

To whom should you complain for dirty premises?

Your nearest local health office or health department

Last reviewed : 19 April 2012
Writer : Dr. A’aisah bt. Senin
Norrani bt. Eksan
Reviewer : Prof. Dr. Norimah A. Karim