Food safety is an essential subject that most people don’t take seriously. Unsafe food can be a cause of various illnesses of which some can even be fatal. As a consumer, you enjoy the power to control the quality of food that you buy. Just by following the processing and storage guidelines on food labels, you can protect yourself from harmful contaminants.
While deciding on the quality of food, all forms of contamination must be considered. If a chemical is identified on a food item, it must be disposed off right away. In such cases, it is even important to inspect the surrounding regions for further contaminants.
Poor food safety refers to improper or incompetent methods in the food supply chain that can result in the spreading of food safety hazards.
This includes unsanitary food preparation, poor food hygiene, inefficient preventive measures, and unsafe air and water sources. The most frequent bacterium found in food is Shigella, Salmonella, Yersinia, Campylobacter, and Cryptosporidium.
What Is the Importance of Food Safety?
- Food safety is important, but why?
- Foodborne illnesses and diseases may cause sickness or can even be fatal.
- It can bring a company’s reputation under threat.
- If proper food safety is not maintained, your business might be in danger.
- It is a legal demand.
- The World Health Organization has advocated that foodborne diseases may hinder economic growth in the United States alone.
- It even hampers socio-cultural development.
Adverse Effects of Poor Food Safety
- Poor food safety can lead to various unpleasant symptoms, like vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and even death.
- Poor food safety handling can result in cross-contamination, exorbitant bacterial growth, and inappropriate storage.
- Proper food hygiene is the best way for avoiding the aftermath of a contaminated food supply.
- According to the World Health Organization, nearly 30% of the people suffer from these illnesses every year.
- The harmful pathogens and chemicals in the food can lead to v a variety of illnesses.
- Thus, proper hygiene and food handling are critical in preventing these foodborne diseases.
How to Prevent Poor Food Safety?
Every year, nearly 1 out of 10 people get sick from consuming contaminated food. Approx. 420,000 people die every year because of food poisoning. The problem is that most of them are not aware of the methods to prevent poor food safety. No worries!! Below are some poor food safety preventive practices
Clean Your Hands
- Before going with the food preparation or handling and after the food is prepared, make sure to properly wash your hands with soap.
- This is especially crucial when you are handling poultry or raw meat because the bacteria may quickly pass to other food.
- Take a sufficient amount of soap to wash your hands, and make sure to wash them for at least 20 seconds so that they get properly disinfected.
- Washing your hands after using the bathroom is a must.
- It is crucial to wash your hands after handling the garbage, before consuming any food, and also after touching your pets or any dirty surface.
- Make sure the bins are kept in clean, dry environments.
- Keep the fridge clean.
- Clean the doors and shelves once or twice a week.
- Use the food before it expires.
- Any types of washing materials or chemicals should never be stored near the stored edibles.
- Regularly clean and change the dish towels, washcloths, and other cleaning tools used in the kitchen.
- Wash the dishes and utensils using lukewarm water and dish soap.
- Wash and sanitize cutting boards and knives after handling bacteria-prone foods like poultry and meat.
Separation of the Food
Avoid cross-contamination and always cut poultry or raw meat on a plastic surface. Poultry and raw meat should be stored separately from other foods. Cutting boards must be cleaned using a bleach solution.
Don’t use cutting boards having cracks or grooves on them.
- Eat appropriate foods in order to keep your body and your beloved ones safe and healthy
- Avoid eating unpasteurized fruits juice, milk, or other milk product
- Pass up unrefrigerated cream and pastry products.
- In case you want to consume raw eggs directly, you must always go with pasteurized ones.
- Throw away the foods that are expired or gone bad or have molds on them as they can cause food poisoning that can be fatal.
- Use a separate cutting board for raw meat.
- Identify the allergens in the food.
- Foods can cause allergic reactions via anything they make a contact with.
- This refers to not only other foods, but also utensils, dishes, and cutting boards.
- Cook your food at an appropriate heat to prevent the germs from contaminating it.
- The safety of cooked food can be checked by examining the texture and color.
- 145°F – lamb, raw ham, chopped veal, beef.
160°F – grounded meats, such as pork or beef.
165°F – all types of poultry such as chicken and turkey, casseroles or leftovers.
- A cooking thermometer can be used for ensuring that the food is cooked to the appropriate temperature.
- Eggs should be cooked in such a way that both yolk and white are firm.
- While reheating gravies, soups or sauces, always boil them before reserving.
- Storing your food at an appropriate temperature is crucial for keeping it safe.
- Low temperatures hinder the spread of harmful bacteria.
- It is essential to maintain the temperature in your freezer and fridge at 40°F.
- Avoid danger zone (40°F – 140°F)
- Seafood, poultry, and meat should be refrigerated within 2 hrs of being cooked or purchased.
Most of the people thaw foods at room temperature which is really unsafe. Thawing can be done in:
- Pot of cold water
Following HACCP Instructions
- Sanitization of all food production spaces and regular inspection of all surfaces is a must.
- Colour code every piece of equipment as mentioned in the HACCP guidelines
Implementation of A Food Safety Plan!!
A food safety strategy focuses on protecting the consumers from various hazardous contaminants such as viruses, and bacteria during production, handling or storing. Implementing a food safety plan is crucial for your business as it would assist in protecting your reputation.
Food adulteration can be fatal. Although it is not an impending threat, it can still lead to illnesses and deaths. For a successful implementation of the plan, the following points need to be taken into account
Appropriate Sanitization Techniques
The stepping stone for a successful implementation of a food safety plan is to make sure all employees are following similar methods. Like, you must utilize different utensils for different food types. An appropriate sanitization action plan must be there for preventing food from getting contaminated. Your staff should be given training in cleaning and sanitizing all food-handling apparatus, as well as utensils.
Educating The Staff And Consumers
- Regardless of what you are selling, may it be fresh produce or frozen meat, you must execute this system for protecting your customers and keeping your business running smoothly.
- Educating your employees and consumers regarding the need for food safety and making sure that the strategy you are implementing is safe is of utmost importance. Once you get a complete idea of the risks, it will be easier to formulate a food safety plan.
- You can even carry out a training program to train all the employees regarding safe food handling.
Appropriate Manufacturing Practices
Although food contamination is unavoidable, it can be prevented. It is worth it to ensure you are following the proper set of rules for your business. In this way you are indirectly reducing your risks and making sure your food is safe, thus maintaining your image.
A food safety plan may indulge basic tasks such as avoiding cross-contamination, identifying potential risk or washing hands. This will even keep your reputation good. You must make sure that your employees and customers are safe. This would increase their chances of re-visiting your restaurant.
Keeping The Plan Up-To-Date
After successful making of the food safety plan, you are required to write a recall plan. This plan would be useful in case a hazard has already occurred. It must include steps to notify direct recipients, conduct potency checks, and dispose of defective foods. It must even contain the appropriate procedure for handling and disposing of the contaminated foods.
Along with this, it is critical to regularly update your food safety plan. The plan must represent all the steps needed for a successful memory. If a hazard is determined, the recalled food must be removed from the marketplace. After that, the hazard prevention plan must be revisited.
Food Safety Guidelines
Following these simple rules would definitely be helpful in reducing the risk of encountering food borne illnesses.
- Appropriate cooking and preliminary processing are also important.
- Make sure to properly wash the vegetables and fruits before using them.
- Store the vegetables and fruits using the 3-step method – Cleaning, chilling and covering – with a clean paper or dish towels.
- Foods must be stored in airtight containers and shouldn’t come in contact with the floor.
- It’s a good practice to eat cooked foods right after preparation, but if this is not possible, they must be stored in a hot or cool environment.
- By storing foods in airtight containers, keep them safe from pests, and it would be better to keep them at a place nearly 6 inches off the floor.
Wash your hands before touching food
- Prevent food contamination.
- Store raw and cooked foods separately.
- Keeping natural foods separate helps to prevent cross-contamination.
- It is recommended to consume cooked foods instantly after they are ready.
- The prepared food must be stored in airtight containers.
Appropriate Food Storage Techniques
Proper storage is crucial to keep the food fresh and safe for consumption. The recommended temperature for storing some foods is 5°C or less. 60°C is ideal for storing fresh foods. It is even important to keep raw foods separate and store them as per their best before date. The best way to store fresh produce is in a sealed container that will prevent pests from getting in and spoiling the food.
If your food is too old or has a ‘use-by date, you should throw it out immediately. Besides refrigerating, you should keep the food away from chemicals. Using plastic water bottles is an excellent way to keep canned food fresh for longer. Ensure that they are clean before storing. Proper storage space is vital for preserving your food. You should keep the contents of the cans in a cool and dry place.
The CDC conducts surveys and research for providing the link between major foodborne diseases and the community practices. They also curate more efficient strategies to implement food safety plans to inhibit the spread of and for an early detection of foodborne illness outbreaks.
Refrigerate them immediately. Don’t place raw meat on top of them as it can attract environmental contaminants.
There are several ways of keeping your food fresh and safe. As discussed earlier, food safety is a serious issue. Thus it is necessary to implement these simple practices that would aid in reducing the risk of getting ill due to contaminated food. The most crucial step is to wash your hands in an appropriate manner.
The best way of preventing poor food safety is thoroughly cooking the food at a safe temperature. Correct packaging of food is as important as cooking it safely. Now that you have the answer to the query, “What is the best way to prevent food safety?” It’s time to implement these in your day-to-day life. In case of any queries, feel free to drop us a comment below. We would be glad to know your opinion!!