The foods less likely to cause food poisoning are:
- Salted or Sugar concentrated foods: The high concentrations of salt (in salted meats, anchovies, olives etc.) or sugars (in jams, syrups, and honey) dissolve in water to form concentrated solutions, leaving insufficient moisture for bacterial growth.
- Fatty foods: Butter, cooking oil, fatty fish etc.
- Acid foods: Pickles, citrus fruits etc.
- Dry foods: Cereals and pulses. Properly stored, they do not support bacterial growth in the dry state, but once prepared, they are very good media for bacterial multiplication, and should therefore be stored in a refrigerator.
- Canned foods: Unless the can is leaking or is bulging (due to gas produced inside the container), these foods are safe. After they are opened, they must be treated as fresh foods, and similar rules of handling and storage followed.
The foods more likely to cause food poisoning are:
- Ice-creams: no doubt, milk used in ice-creams made by a reputed company gets sterilized when it is boiled. But, contamination can occur when it is cooled and flavours and additives added. Bacteria introduced at this stage are not likely to be killed; when the milk is frozen, these become dormant. They then become active again when the temperature rises during transportation or at the time of serving or eating.
- Eggs: The shells of eggs may be contaminated with the faeces of the birds that laid them. Under certain conditions of temperature and humidity, these germs can penetrate the shell – quite a common occurrence with ducks eggs. Fortunately, ducks eggs are not commonly eaten.
- Rice: Spores of important food-poisoning bacteria contaminate rice and these spores survive cooking temperatures. So, if rice is not to be eaten immediately after it’s prepared, it should be stored in a refrigerator.
- Sliced bread and confectionery: as these foodstuffs are generally stored for extended periods in a warm environment – during sale. Transport and at home – they are more likely to harbour harmful germs and provide a conducive medium for their multiplication.
- Cold sweets: Cold sweets like custards are suitable media for bacterial growth. They can be contaminated by flies, insects, repeated handling during preparation and sale and long storage at atmospheric temperature (for example, on the occasion of festivals).