THE Department of Health (DOH) has urged the public to be vigilant about food safety and mindful of the potential for unhealthy weight gain during the holiday season.
Assistant Secretary of Health Enrique Tayag explained more food-borne infections are expected because “more will prepare food this time of the year.”
Tayag enjoined the public to be vigilant when preparing food for the upcoming festivities and to observe food hygiene.
Food hygiene is attained when all measures in food safety are met.
“The one responsible is the one who prepared the food,” Tayag.
He said clean hands must be used in preparing food to prevent contamination.
DOH environment office engineer Sonabel Anarma shared five tips for safer food from the World Health Organization (WHO): Keep clean; separate raw and cooked food; cook food thoroughly; keep food at safe temperature; and use safe water and raw materials.
Apart from food preparation, Tayag said it is necessary that the food is served and consumed at the right temperature.
Hot foods must be served and eaten while hot, while cold foods must likewise be kept cold enough.
The golden period to serve and consume food is from two to four hours, said Tayag.
Beyond that, hot foods should be reheated and cold foods refrigerated.
Watch your weight
In addition to being aware of food safety, Filipinos must also be cautious with their food intake because of the holiday binge eating, Tayag said.
He explained that studies showed that a person has only two months to burn all the weight they gained during the holidays, or otherwise it becomes his or her new baseline weight.
To prevent this, Tayag suggested using the smallest plate available and to take only half of what is desired.
He also encouraged slow chewing of meals and to “avoid thinking that they will run out of food.”
“Parties are not all about eating,” Tayag said.
It is about participating in activities and enjoying the company of your peers, he added.