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Preventing food poisoning

Michiko is at a supermarket with her daughter Iben to shop for tonight's supper. She is planning to make a traditional Danish home-style dish as her husband Niels has requested.

Iben

Mom, what are you making for supper tonight?

Michiko

“Frikadeller,” to honor your dad’s request.

Iben

I haven't had those Danish meatballs for such a long time! I remember grandma used make them often. I am going to get ground pork then!

Michiko

Iben, let's pick the meat for the last. I need to find salt and flour first.

Iben

Why can't we get the meat now?

Michiko

Bacteria may start growing on the meat while we carry it in the basket around the store. Food poisoning caused by bacteria is very common during the summer because of high temperature and humidity from June through August in Japan.

Iben

I see. Can we still stop by a bookstore later on the way back home?

Michiko

Sorry, but not this time. We need to put the meat and fish to the refrigerator as soon as possible. It is very important to keep them in cool temperature to avoid bacteria from growing.

Iben
Can we protect the meat from bacteria as long as we keep it in the fridge?
Michiko

We can prevent a rapid spread of bacteria, but they still grow slowly in the fridge. So, it is best that we don't buy more meat than what we need for the time being and use it up as quickly as possible. OK, let's move to the meat aisle now. Make sure to check the expiration date before you pick the package.

Being back home, Michiko starts preparing supper with Iben.

Michiko

Wash your hands well, Iben. Hands are another good source of germs.

Iben

I already did that, Mom. Can I make salad? I will make sure to wash vegetables well...Mom, your frikadeller pieces look smaller than grandma's.

Michiko

I am making them a bit smaller so that they cook through the center. Bacteria are weak against heat, and cooking food well is another way to prevent food poisoning.

Iben

OK…now, the salad is ready. Do you want me to wash the cooking utensils if you are finished with them?

Michiko

Sure, thank you. Please wash them with dish soap as bacteria may live on the tools and dishes as well. Especially, after preparing meat or fish, knives and cutting boards should be washed well and run in hot water to kill the germs.

Niels

Tadaima! I smell something really good.

Michiko

Okaerinasai. Supper is ready.

Niels

Great. Let's eat then!

Iben

Dad, please wash your hands well with soap before being seated at the table. We have to be careful about food poisoning especially during the summer.

Niels

I understand that well, Iben.

Michiko

Alright, let's enjoy our cold salad while it's cold and our hot dish while it's hot. It is another good thing to remember that we should eat the cooked food right after they are prepared to avoid food poisoning.

Niels

Food tastes best when eaten fresh, anyway!

All
Itadakimasu!

Government of Japan Public Relations Office "3 principles and 6 keys to prevent food poisoning"

http://www3.gov-online.go.jp/featured/201106_02/index.html (only available in Japanese)