Food poisoning is a threat to all of us, but especially to food handling facilities where it is one of their responsibilities to protect customers' health. But proper knowledge and operation can prevent food poisoning. In this page, we are going to introduce prevention measures of food poisoning caused by bacteria.
Hygienic Hand Hygiene
Hands are incredibly useful tools in the kitchen. However, every time we touch something, we can get germs on our hands or transfer them. Our hands are the most common carriers for germs and the most common route of travel for infection. That is why practicing hand hygiene is one of the most important and essential ways to prevent food poisoning.
Hand hygiene is divided into three varying degrees according to how thoroughly it kills germs. These three levels are simply called, "Hand Washing", "Hygienic Hand Hygiene", and "Surgical Hand Antisepsis". The hand washing conducted by food handlers is "hygienic hand hygiene" and aims to eliminate transient flora with the procedure of 1) washing, 2) drying and 3) sanitizing.
More information about hygienic hand hygiene can be found on the hygienic hand hygiene for food handlers web page.
3 Principles To Prevent Food Borne Illness
The following 3 points are principles of preventing food poisoning caused by bacteria. It is important to keep them in mind and practice safe food handling.
1. Cleanliness: Don't let bacteria get on food.
Always keep the environment and equipment clean and hygienic to prevent bacteria from getting on food. Of course clean environment and equipment will be pointless if a food handler is not hygienic. It is important that everything and everybody involve in food preparation to be clean and hygienic.
2. Promptness / Cooling: Don't let bacteria multiple on food.
Bacteria are a part of our living environment so they also live on food originally. When number of bacteria reaches to certain amount, food poisoning occurs. Bacteria multiple over time. So it is very important not to give bacteria time to multiple by preparing food promptly. Bacterial growth stops or becomes slow when the temperature is below 5℃ (41°F). So cooling the food is also imporatant to supress bacterial growth.
3. Heating: Destroy bacteria.
Most bacteria are weak to heat. Although it depends on the type of bacteria, they start to die when the temperature is above 60℃ (140°F). You never know what kind of bacteria are on the food so it is recommended to cook food thoroughly to the inner temeprature of 70℃ (158°F) for more than 30 seconds to make sure there is no bacteria left on the food.
The below indicates the relationship between temperature and bacterial growth. Keep the food in Danger Zone temperature increases the risk of food poisoning.
Heat can destroy bacteria, however, toxins produced by bacteria will unfortunately remain. So practicing all 3 principles introduced here is crucial to prevent food poisoning.
Elements Of Food Sanitation
As one of the prevention measures of food poisoning, it is important to prevent bacteria from contaminating food. But how do we keep them away? The key word is Cleanliness. It may not be difficult to imagine that poor sanitation and food hygiene can increase the risk of contamination in many ways.
The following are the basic 3 checkpoints for practicing good food sanitation.
1. Food handler
Food handlers are the ones who get closest to the food and that is why they are always at risk of causing contamination. It is very important that each and every food handler maintain a high standard of personal hygiene.
The following are the basic points for how food handlers should dress and groom themselves.
• Do not wear any accessories such as watches or jewelry.
• Keep your hair covered with a sanitary cap or net.
• Keep nails short and do not wear nail polish.
• Wear a sanitary uniform and maintain it in a clean and hygeinic manner.
Also, food handlers must pay attention to their own health because when they are sick, they have a higher possibility of spreading food poisoning bacteria.
DO NOT engage in food handling if you have...
• symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach ache.
• a wound, cut or burn on your hands.
2. Equipment and utensils.
Equipment and utensils are important tools that make direct contact with food. Food residue and other soiling can become a source of nutrients for bacteria. Keeping equipment and utensils hygienic by regular cleaning and sanitizing is crucial for preventing food poisoning.
Cleaning and sanitizing are different procedures and have different purposes. Cleaning is aimed to remove any food residue or dirt. Detergent can also remove some bacteria, however, it cannot reduce the number of bacteria to a safe level for food contact. Sanitizing is aimed to destroy and reduce bacteria on the surface to a safe level for food contact. If there is any food residue or dirt remaining on the surface, sanitizer does not work effectively as it cannot reach the surface. That is why cleaning before sanitizing is very important.
To properly clean and sanitize equipment and utensils, learn 3 elements that are required for effective cleaning.
Water or hot water: Water is required to mix with detergent and make foam. Also, it is effective at rinsing away food residue. Always rinse equipment or utensils before applying detergent. Hot water works better against oil and grease.
Detergent: Use an appropriate amount of detergent according to the type of soil. For example, alkaline agent works well against grease so when washing equipment or utensils with heavy grease, alkaline detergent is recommended.
Physical force: Detergent cannot remove everything on its own. Use a brush, sponge or cloth to physically remove soiling.
People or equipment that touch food are not the only threats to food safety. Foreign matter can also contaminate food, and may cause food poisoning. Not only that, certain kinds of contamination can cause customers to feel uncomfortable or angry. It is extremely important not to let foreign objects in the food handling area.
The following are examples of foreign object contamination.
• Insects such as flies and cockroaches
• Office stationary such as paperclips, staples and pen caps
• Plastic from packaging or rubberbands
For better understanding of food safety and sanitation, SARAYA can provide food sanitation trainings. Please do not hesitate to contact our sales offices near you.