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By Bob Bowen
Broadcast: September 20, 2004
This is Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Development Report.
People who grow their own food usually want to keep enough from their harvest for future use. But they also want to avoid the risk of food poisoning. So food safety experts offer some advice.
One suggestion is to carefully examine vegetables that grow underground before they are put away for later use. They should be clean, dry, and have no cuts. They should be kept in a cool, dry place.
Some people dig cellars where they keep their potatoes and root vegetables. It is important that this underground room be kept dark. Light can cause potatoes to develop a poison called solanine.
Meats, fruits and vegetables can be dried and kept in cloth bags. The bags should be hung in a cool, dry place. Hanging the bags in the air will keep animals and insects on the ground from damaging the food.
Mold is likely to grow on dried food that is kept where the air contains a lot of water. Milk will go bad if it is kept for a long time, especially if it is not kept cold. However, fresh milk should be safe to drink for a while if it is boiled. Put the boiled milk in a clean container and keep it in the coolest place you can find.
Fats and oils should be kept in a cool place in covered containers. The containers should keep out light. Light can harm the properties of oils and fats. The containers should be made of dark glass or fired clay. Containers made of iron or copper will ruin fats and oils. If possible, heat the oil or fat to remove any water which would cause mold to grow.
Fresh bread can be kept for later use if it is cooled quickly after it is baked. Then, it should be covered completely with clean paper or cloth. Fresh bread can be kept in a clean tin container. Be sure dust and insects cannot get to the bread.
In hot weather when there is high humidity in the air, the tin container should not be closed too tightly. This could cause mold to grow on the bread. To help prevent mold, the bread container should be cleaned with hot water at least once a week and carefully dried.
Canned foods should be kept in a place that is clean, dry and cool. Organisms can grow if cans or jars are damaged and air gets inside. Never eat food from cans that are swollen or leaking. These are possible signs of botulism. The food could contain a rare but deadly bacteria.
This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Bob Bowen. This is Gwen Outen.