Jamaica Health Tips Online
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|Posted on August 19, 2018 at 6:44 PM||comments (26)|
A super power that most Jamaican seems to possess is the ability to test the temperature of foods with their bare hands. Quite often one would use the back of their hand to test how hot a bottle of feed is or how cold the temperature in the refrigerator is. Funny! But it’s the truth. Despite this practice may not cause tremendous harm in the home setting, when practiced by food service operators it could result in catastrophic health effects on the Jamaican population.
The temperature of food can only be tested correctly by the use of a thermometer. Using a thermometer to monitor the temperature of foods while you process, store and distribute them will give you a clear insight of what is happening to the food. Most food service operators constantly ignore the importance of this instrument in their day to day operation and repeatedly abuse the temperature of the food they prepare.
According to the Centre of Disease Control and prevention, two of the top five risk factors responsible for causing food-borne illness involve temperature control. The risk factors are improper hot/cold holding temperatures of potentially hazardous food and improper cooking temperatures of food. Therefore, when negligence is practiced and food is left out in the danger zone, microorganism will start to multiple in the food and rendering the food unsafe.
The range of temperatures that fall between 4.4 degree Celsius and 63.7 degree Celsius are what the food service industry refers to as the danger zone. Food service operators must minimize the amount of time foods are left at these temperatures to prevent food-borne illnesses. The rule of thumb to always remember is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
As it relates to the thermometer, they are numerous types. However, the two most commonly used types are the probe and the infrared thermometer. The probe thermometer is a thermometer that has a pointy metal stem that can be inserted into food. Use a probe thermometer to check internal food temperatures when you cook, re-heat, cool thaw and keep foods hot or cold. While the infrared thermometer that takes the temperature of the food without coming in contact with the food. Therefore, only the surface temperature of the food that will be obtained.
During a food premises inspection, a thermometer is one device a food service operator is expected to have. This will enable him or her to do their own temperature monitoring of the food they are preparing, as they will be expected to fill out the temperature log of each food prepared. This document is very crucial in an inspection, since the Public Health Inspector will be checking it to asses the safety of the food being sold.
Do you sometimes eat food that is at room temperature? Leave your comments below.
|Posted on August 12, 2018 at 6:24 PM||comments (2583)|
|Posted on July 15, 2018 at 7:47 PM||comments (4)|
|Posted on March 29, 2015 at 7:49 PM||comments (37)|
It’s great to see many Jamaicans adding more fruits and vegetables to their diet nowadays, but eating healthy is not the only thing we should focus on. When purchasing our fruits and vegetable we tend to shy away from the ones that have been bitten by insects or that have insect parts on them, but are we really equipped with the correct information to identify good quality fruits and vegetables in the market place? Generally, these foods ought to be consumed when they are fit and not to be offered for sale in an over ripe, rotten, parasitic or poisonous condition. Over ripe fruit is known to cause diarrhoea and other complications. Here are things to look out for when purchasing these produce in the market place;
Eating healthy is good but never neglect safety in the process. Remember your health is your responsibility so shop smart and responsible.
Do you inspect your vegetables and fruits before you buy them?
|Posted on January 18, 2015 at 1:49 PM||comments (21)|
Have you ever purchased an item in a food handling establishment, but only to realize later that the product is expired? As Jamaicans we need to pay more attention to what we are purchasing and bringing home to our families. In order for us to be informed consumers, we need to read our labels more often.
A label is a tag or other descriptions matter printed, embossed, impressed or attached to the container of a product. This helps to advertise the product and most importantly gives the consumer information about the product, necessary to make the best buy. Against that back, this means that it is crucial for a label to be accurate and reflects the true nature of the product.
A label consists of two main areas;
The main panel should contain the;
The information panel should contain the;
N:B. All information presented must be in English
In Jamaica the two entities that determine what information is presented on a label are the manufacturer and the Bureau of Standard Jamaica. With that said it is critical to note that no product should be purchased without a label, most importantly bulk chemicals and detergents.
DO YOU READ THE LABEL WHEN PURCHASING ITEMS? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW.
|Posted on March 30, 2014 at 8:43 PM||comments (22)|
As defined in the Collins English Dictionary, 1819 a fruit juice is a beverage made from liquid squeezed from a fruit or fruits. With that said, can we legally call juice from concentrate 100% fruit juice? This seems to be the new way of advertising fruit juices blended with other ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners, additives and coloring.
Many may argue that fruit juice made from concentrate is juice adding back the water that was removed in the evaporation process. Yes, but evaporation which is heating the juice to high temperature will destroy certain nutrients and enzymes in the natural fruit. In addition, juice from concentrate would also have most of its water removed through filtration and extraction. Extraction involves adding some chemicals to get a more condensed product.
According to the Dictionary of Food Science and Technology, Juice from concentrate is also pasteurized as part of the process to extend its shelf life. As a general rule, the more processing a food undergoes, the more potential there is for nutrient loss. On the contrary, according to the Complete Book of Food count, the differences are not great. One cup of 100% orange juice from concentrate, for example contains 100 milligram and 40 micro-gram of beta-carotene, compare to 125 milligram of vitamin c and 80 micro-gram of beta-carotene in fresh squeezed varieties.
The writer will not dismiss the fact that 100% juice from concentrate with no sugar added is healthier than juice made from concentrate with sugar added, however it’s in my opinion that juice from concentrate should not be advertise as 100% natural fruit juice. As consumers we need to take charge in the market place, read labels since it is the only thing that will provide us with information needed to guide us in making a wise and informed choice. Please share your views and knowledge on this topic.
Do you drink a lot of juices that are made from concentrate?
|Posted on January 12, 2014 at 5:22 PM||comments (22)|
Fish, when freshly caught, is relatively wholesome. The quality of the fish starts to deteriorate as soon as it is taken from the water. The principal cause of fish condemnation is decay. Factors influencing the rapid spoilage of fish are:
Characteristics of Good Wet Fish
Care of Fresh Fish
1. Minimum handling – the less handling fish receives, the longer it will remain wholesome and the less likelihood of it causing fish poisoning.
2. Fresh fish should be buried in ice that is relatively finely ground or shaven.
3. It is poor practice to allow fish fillet, sliced fish or fish with flesh exposed to come in direct contact with water or ice as this will spoil the flavour and appearance and result in a soggy unpalatable product.
4. Refrigeration is necessary at all times to keep down bacterial action and autolysis.
Smoked Fish (Herring)
1. Flesh should be firm, dry and free from stains
2. Flesh should have fresh, clean, smoky odor
1. Flesh is sweaty, soft and slimy.
2. Flesh is moldy and has bad odor.
1. Flesh should be firm, clear in colour, fairly dry on surface, neatly trimmed.
2. Always stored in dry cool place.
3. Free of insect pests and dirt.Bad Fish
1. Fish should be covered with clean liquor.
2.Odor should be pleasant, pickle odor.
3. Fish should be firm and free from bloodstained and broken pieces.
The outside should be clean and free from dirt, with shells tightly closed.
When a handful is rubbed together, they will sound like pebbles.
They will sink in water and has a pleasant odor.
If the pH of the liquor is tested, it will be between 6 and 7. ·
The liquor appears milky especially during the spawning season (spring).
Shell not closed.
When shaken, does not have a pebble like sound.
Unpleasant odor, excessive dirt and slime.
PH of the liquor more acidic and has an opaque appearance.
has a black or dark ring in the inside of the shell ·
Floats in water.
Oysters removed from shell should be stored in sterile containers and if being kept for over 4 days, should be stored at 30ºF or below.
Source: Marcia Reid (lecturer at University of Technology, Jamaica. Lecture notes.)
Are you buying safe fish? leave a comment below.
|Posted on December 22, 2013 at 9:54 PM||comments (27)|
|Posted on October 13, 2013 at 9:43 PM||comments (21)|
Eggs are one of the most economical and nutritious food known to man. It is important to however, not to mismanage eggs during the time of production through to consumption. This is because mismanagement may compromise the safety and the quality of the egg and consequently facilitates the growth of microorganisms which can have deleterious effect on the health of the consumer.
Eggs have been classified by many including the Food and Drug administration as being a potentially hazardous food. This is because it has being implicated in numerous foodborne disease outbreaks such as Salmonellosis. (FDA, 2001) According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, (2011), it is estimated that the average yearly production of eggs in Jamaica is at 120,977,659. Consequently there are approximately 16,200 unmonitored small egg farms contributing to the yearly production of eggs in the island, (Williams, 2004). This is of major public health concern because some eggs which you consume could be contaminated with deadly microorganisms that may result in loss of life.
Most commercially produced eggs reach supermarkets within a few days of leaving the egg farm. If the market and the buyer handle them properly, they will still be fresh when they reach the table. As an egg ages, the egg white becomes thinner and the yolk becomes flatter.
Blood spots also called meat spots, occasionally found on an egg yolk. Contrary to popular opinion, these tiny spots do not indicate a fertilized egg. Rather, they are caused by the rupture of a blood vessel on the yolk surface during formation of the egg or by a similar accident in the wall of the oviduct. Less than 1% of all eggs produced have blood spots. As an egg ages, the yolk takes up water from the albumen to dilute the blood spot so, in actuality, a blood spot indicates that the egg is fresh. Both chemically and nutritionally, these eggs are fit to eat. The spot can be removed with the tip of a knife, if you wish.
Table 1 : Showing the quality of egg from very fresh (left) to stale (right).
How are eggs handled safely?
Proper refrigeration, cooking, and handling should prevent most egg-safety problems. Persons can enjoy eggs and dishes containing eggs if these safe handling guidelines are followed:
Source : Marcia Reid (lecturer) @ University of Technology, Jamaica.
|Posted on September 22, 2013 at 6:37 PM||comments (25)|
Genetically Modified Foods
These are foods, in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. From prehistoric time plants and animals have been involved in selective breeding. Scientists first discovered that DNA can transfer between organisms in 1946. The first genetically modified plant was produced in 1983, using an antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant.
In 1994, the transgenic Flavr Savr tomato was approved by the FDA for marketing in the US - the modification allowed the tomato to delay ripening after picking.
Advantages Genetically Modified Foods
• Genetically modified food technology can develop crops with higher yield, with less fertilizer, less pesticides, and more nutrients.
• Decrease of maturation time of the plants, so they can be harvested sooner, stay riper longer and more often during the year.
• Foods are more resistant and stay ripe for a longer period of time.
• Reduction in food-borne illnesses e.g. Foods causing allergic reactions.
• Developments of new kinds of crops that can be grown at extreme climates.
• As more crops can be grown and at more places, this decreases global warming through the increase of oxygen in the environment and the decrease of carbon dioxide.
• Enhancement of the size of food.
• Less labor requirements.
• Less factory additives needed.
• Scientific development of agriculture, health and related sciences due to the better understanding of the products. E.g. the development of new medicines.
Disadvantages Genetically Modified Foods
• Harm to other organisms. E.g. genes and their effect included in a crop may turn out to be poisonous to insects (monarch butterfly poisoned by Genetically Modified Foods corns).
• Scientists can choose which genes to manipulate, but they don't yet know where in the DNA to precisely insert these genes and they have no way of controlling gene expression.
Genes don't work in isolation, changing a few could change the whole picture, with unpredictable results.
• Genetically modified crops cross-pollinate with nearby non-genetically modified foods plants and could create ecological problems.
• Genetically Modified Foods technology companies patent their crops and also engineer crops so that harvested grain germs are incapable of developing.
• Since the production of engineered food involves infusing animal genes in the crops and tampering with nature, it might not be good for consumption in the long run.
• Genetically engineered food would increase the dependency of developing countries, on industrialized nations. This would result in a dominance of the world food production by a few countries. New advances may be skewed to the interests of rich countries.
• The biggest disadvantage of genetically modified food is that they have harmful effects. on the human body. The consumption of these genetically engineered foods can lead to development of diseases that are immune to antibiotics.
• Possible creation of new kinds of weapons; genetic food and beverage weapons.
• Herbicide-resistant and pesticide-resistant crops could give rise to super-weeds and super-pests that would need newer, stronger chemicals to destroy them.
The advantages and disadvantages of genetically modified foods are numerous and is strongly dependent on the consumers’ preference and the developers’ motive. All genetically modified foods should be labelled by law, however according to many articles reviewed most popular brand fail to label their products genetically modified.
Do you support companies that produce Genetically Modified Food?
leave a comment below and share your views