Asian Recipes

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The Unrivaled Practical Guide for Asian Cooking

What is listeriosis, and is it really such a serious risk?

Listeriosis is a food-borne disease caused by a listeria bacterium, but it is very rare. Foods most at risk include pates, soft mold-ripened cheeses such as brie and camembert and blue cheeses, ready-to-eat chickens and soft-serve ice creams.

As listeria can multiply at temperatures below that found in many domestic refrigerators, susceptible food should not be stored for more than four days. Listeria is also fairly heat-resistant, so cooked foods should be reheated to piping hot. Local health authorities advise that pregnant women should avoid susceptible foods, and unpasteurized (or raw) milk and any cheese made from it.

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11:13:11 on 11/21/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

Is it safe to cut mold off food and eat the unaffected part?

No, because a small number of molds do produce potentially harmful toxins. It is preferable and desirable to minimize the chance of mold growing on food.

In general, any foods that show mold should be discarded. But some foods, such as cheese stored in the refrigerator, and opened jam stored in a cool, dry cupboard or pantry, may show some mold growth on the surface. In these cases, if this mold is removed with a generous safety margin, the remaining cheese or jam may still be safe to eat.

11:02:00 on 11/21/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What are the common sources of salmonella poisoning, and how can we protect our family?

The foods that are most commonly infected with the salmonella group of bacteria are meat, poultry and other protein foods. Symptoms usually appear in 12 to 48 hours and include tiredness, diarrhea, high fever, severe abdominal pain and vomiting. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Cooking, providing the center of the food reaches a temperature greater than 72oC, will destroy the salmonella bacteria. But as some of the bacteria reproduce, they produce toxins which will not be destroyed during cooking and which also cause food poisoning. This is why it is so important not to leave uncooked food lying around in the warm and often moist conditions in which the reproduction of the bacteria takes place.

Take chilled and frozen food home quickly from the shop and put it in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible. Store all other food in cool, dry conditions.

To minimize the risk of contamination, it is always wise to reject any eggs that have cracked or blemished shells.

10:44:11 on 11/21/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

How to organize the kitchen to avoid food poisoning?

To avoid contamination of food, store it safely and take care that it is
cooked thoroughly. There has been an increase in reported food poisoning cases
in the past decade. Possible causes range from the rise of giant food processing
plants, in which a single infection can spread widely, through to declining
cooking and hygiene skills in the home. To be safe, here are the golden rules to

  • Food should be stored in clean, dry, airtight containers, and raw and
    cooked foods kept separate.

  • Use separate boards when cutting, slicing, chopping or preparing raw and
    cooked foods.

  • Food should be cold or very hot, as bacteria multiply quickly at
    temperatures between 5o and 65oC.

  • Discard any food that is past its expiry date, smells unpleasant or tastes
    as if it may be 'off'. If you have doubts at all, get rid of it.

  • Make sure meat and poultry are fully defrosted before cooking.

  • When reheating food, make sure it is piping hot all the way through, and
    do not reheat it twice.

  • Always wash your hands before handling food.

  • Disinfect worktops, refrigerators and chopping boards often with an
    antibacterial cleaner.

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10:26:46 on 11/21/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -