Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

Preparing and Storing Food

Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. If everyone gave just $5 we could translate 50 more chapters.

Make a giftMake a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.


HealthWiki > New Where There Is No Doctor > Water and Sanitation: Keys to Staying Healthy > Preparing and Storing Food


 vegetables in a bowl of water

Sickness can be spread by germs and worms that enter our bodies through the food we eat. To avoid getting sick from food:

  • wash your hands before touching food or cooking.
  • cook meat products well before eating. Wash cooking surfaces after preparing meat so germs from uncooked meat, seafood, and eggs do not spread to food that is already cooked or to food you eat raw.
     fish on plate covered with net
  • wash or peel fruits and vegetables, or cook them well before eating. This kills germs from the soil where they were grown, and any germs that got on them during transportation.
  • eat food right away, or keep prepared food covered and safe from flies and dirt until it is ready to be eaten.
  • reheat street food, or any food that has been left out, until it is hot. This will kill any germs before eating.
  • store food in a way that keeps it safe from insects and rodents which can spread germs.
  • keep the cooking area clean. Wash dishes, cutting surfaces, and utensils after each use and allow them to dry well.
food being kept cool in a clay pot cooler
  • feed left-over food scraps to animals, or put them in a compost pile so they do not attract insects.
  • keep food cold, which prevents it from spoiling as quickly.


Make a cooler using 2 unglazed clay pots of different sizes. Place 1 inside the other and fill the space in between the pots tightly with sand. Keep the sand wet by pouring water on it twice a day. Put the food you want to keep cool in the smaller pot, and keep the pots covered.

Keep flies off food

 plate of food with flies above it Flies spread germs and cause illness by landing on human and animal feces and then landing on the food we eat. Cover food and make fly traps to prevent flies from spreading germs.

How to make a fly trap


     fly trap with fish skeleton bait hung outdoors
    seal
    Put the fly trap near toilets and places where food is prepared to reduce flies.
  1. Tape or glue paper to make an open cone, then fit the cone inside a jar or bottle.
  2. Seal around the opening of the bottle so there is no space between the cone and the bottle.
  3. Hang the bottle from a string or attach it to a stick in the ground.
  4. Put fruit, fish, or some other bait just under the trap. Flies will land on the food and then fly through the cone and into the bottle.
  5. To empty the trap, turn it mouth up, remove the cone, fill with water to make sure the flies are dead, and then dump it out.



en.hesperian.org