As the Lunar New Year approaches, the bustling traditional food markets become a hive of activity. These markets are a critical part of the Lunar New Year festivities, offering a wide range of fresh produce, seafood, and traditional delicacies. However, amidst the excitement, it’s essential to stay safe and be aware of potential health risks. This article provides five essential tips to ensure safety while doing food shopping during this festive period.
1. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings
The Lunar New Year celebrations can attract large crowds, making it a potential target for thieves. The Houston Police Department suggests staying aware of your surroundings while participating in the festivities. Put away your cell phone to avoid distractions and keep an eye on your personal belongings. Always have your keys ready and, if you feel followed or threatened, don’t hesitate to call 911 or drive to the nearest police station.
2. Check for Expiration Dates
With a wide variety of food items available, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and forget to check for food expiration dates. Always ensure that the food you’re purchasing is fresh and within its use-by date. Consuming expired food can lead to foodborne illnesses, which can spoil the festive mood.
3. Avoid Cross-contamination
Food markets often have different types of food stored close to each other. Cross-contamination can occur if raw food comes into contact with ready-to-eat food. When shopping, separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods in your shopping cart, and use separate bags for carrying them home.
4. Store Perishable Items Properly
After purchasing your food items, it’s essential to store them properly. Perishable items like seafood and certain traditional Lunar New Year delicacies need to be refrigerated or frozen as soon as possible to prevent bacterial growth. When preparing meals, ensure that food is cooked to the correct temperature and promptly refrigerated afterward.
5. Purchase from Reputable Sources
Lastly, always buy from reputable sources. Counterfeit products can be a problem, especially during festive periods when demand is high. Be cautious of unusually low prices or unfamiliar brands, as these may be indicators of counterfeit products. Purchasing from well-known vendors or shops with good hygiene ratings can help ensure the quality and safety of your food.
In conclusion, while the Lunar New Year is a time of celebration and joy, it’s also crucial to prioritize safety, especially when it comes to food shopping. By being aware of your surroundings, checking for expiration dates, avoiding cross-contamination, storing perishable items properly, and purchasing from reputable sources, you can enjoy the festivities with peace of mind. Happy Lunar New Year!