Today I succesfully completed the Food Safe course. It is a course that you are required by law to take if you plan to work around food. It goes through basic safety precautions (much of which is common sense) inorder to prevent the general public from food borne illnesses (aka food poisoning).
As we went through the information, I couldn’t help but think about how wrong we treated our food in Kenya. It’s amazing that I have never gotten sick from food. I couldn’t help but giggle as I remembered the things I have eaten and the way they were prepared. They are definitely unacceptable according to the standards here in British Columbia. Here are a few examples:
Standards in B.C: Raw meat must be stored in a refridgerated environment at a temperature of 4 degrees Celcius or less.
Reality in Kenya: When you want raw meat, you must go to the local butchers, show him the piece that you want and he will cut off the appropriate limb from the carcass hanging in the window.
Standards in B.C: Fish must be refridgerated almost immediately after being killed.
Reality in Kenya: Raw fish bakes all day long in the hot sun of Mombasa. Fisherman lay it in the streets untill it is all sold.
Standards in B.C: Be careful not to ingest any harmful chemicals!
Reality in Kenya: Vegetables must be bleached inorder to avoid getting sick.
Standards in B.C: Eggs must be refridgerated. The carton must be kept on the bottom shelf incase one breaks and spills onto other items.
Reality in Kenya: Eggs are bought in plastic bags and kept on the counter.
Standards in B.C: Thorough handwashing in restaurants is absolutely necessary. This process goes as follows: turn on warm water, lather hands in liquid soap, rub each hand in a rotary motion for at least 30 seconds, rinse hands with warm water and let water drip down from the wrists to the finger tips, turn off taps and use paper towel or air dryer to dry your hands.
Reality in Kenya: Thorough handwashing in restaurants is somewhat necessary providing there is a sink available. This process goes as follows: turn on the one shaky tap (that is only cold water), take the dirty bar of soap or the plastic pop bottle with watered down liquid soap in it, lather hands, wash as much as possible with the little dribbles of water coming out of the tap, turn off the tap and wipe your hands on your skirt to dry them.
Needless to say, our standards in B.C. are a little different than the ones in Kenya. As I learned about the various sicknesses that we can get from food, I thanked God for His protection. His mighty hand is ultimately in control of these crazy bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi!