A part of healthy eating is handling food safely. Individuals can reduce contaminants and keep food safe to eat by following safe food handling practices.
Basic principles for safe food handling work hand in hand to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. Since harmful bacteria that may cause disease, are not usually easily detected by human senses, restaurants must then rely on advanced technology like Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to ensure that they are compliant to food safety policies. In every step in the food preparation stage, it’s crucial that you follow these four basic steps of the Food Safe Families campaign to ensure food safety which includes:
Cleaning is a very vital step in the safe handling of food. It is one of the key ways to prevent bacteria from contaminating your meal. The steps that you need to observe when cleaning are as follows:
- Remove excess dirt or greasefrom kitchen tools and equipment.
- Make sure to spray your kitchen with a multi-purpose cleaner before handling food.
- Wipe off with the cleaner with aclean material cloth.
- Spray the kitchen witha sanitizer.
- Allow a sufficient contact time (3 – 5 minutes).
- Wipe off the food preparation table with a paper towel.
Separating ready to eat food products from those that are raw or that might otherwise contain harmful microbes is key to preventing foodborne illness. It is necessary that food handlers pay attention to separating raw ingredients particularly when handling any kind of food. First, place raw seafood, meat, and poultry in plastic bags. Store the raw seafood, meat, and poultry below ready-to-eat food in your refrigerator. And make sure to clean reusable grocery bags regularly. Because, according to a study on publichealth.llu.edu, harmful bacteria lurking in almost all tested reusable bags. Among them, half-carried coliform bacteria (which is found in the intestines of humans and animals and indicates fecal contamination) and 12% contained E. coli, another intestinal bacteria that can cause diarrhea and other illnesses.
Food products like meat and seafood should be cooked to the recommended safe minimum internal temperature in other to rid it of harmful microbes. Food handlers should use a reliable food thermometer to ensure that food is cooked safely. Generally, the food thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the food, not touching bone, fat, or cartilage.
With proper storage, foods remain safe and retain their quality, nutrients, and flavor or longer. Be sure to store foods in airtight containers and prepared foods are designed to be stored at refrigeration temperatures below 8°C (optimum 5°C maximum) and need to be kept chilled in a fridge to safely meet their shelf life. If they are not properly chilled and stored, bacteria can multiply, while raw foods should be refrigerated at a temperature of 40° F or below which helps slow growth of these harmful microbes. Proper food storage will reduce your risk of food poisoning.
Color-coding is an important part of handling food safely. Not only does it help prevent cross-contamination due to allergens, pathogens and foreign contaminants, color-coding also has a variety of other uses. With the number of governmental regulations growing, it is essential that food processing facilities stay on top of the current trends and best practices to be market leaders. Implementing a color-coding program is a great way to help accomplish that. Eliminating cross-contamination requires good food safety habits such as frequent washing of hands, cleaning of utensils, and work surfaces.
Many professional kitchens also color code tools that are used for different foods, such as raw poultry or fresh vegetables, so cross-contamination is less likely to occur.
Samples of color-coding systems include;
Preventing Functional Cross-Contamination:
- Red: Raw Meat
- Green: Processed or Cooked Meat
Preventing Departmental Cross-Contamination:
- Blue: Seafood
- Yellow: Chicken
Also, every kitchen can use different colored kitchen equipment for different things, but as recommended by the Food safety magazine website, food group for each color is:
- Red kitchen equipment is used for raw meat.
- Blue kitchen equipment is used for raw fish.
- Yellow kitchen equipment is used for cooked meats.
- Green kitchen equipment is used for salads and fruits.
- Brown kitchen equipment is used for vegetables.
- White kitchen equipment is used for dairy products.
- Purple kitchen equipment is used for allergenic foods.
Safe food handling regulations are required to be standardized for compliance throughout each step of the farm to table process.
A brief enumeration of some safe food handling techniques include;
- Safe food handling practices are the ones most likely to preserve food’s peak quality. Keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold inhibits the growth of microorganisms that can spoil your food or make you ill. Storage at the proper temperature also retains the fresh appearance, pleasant aroma, and agreeable texture that contribute so strongly to an enjoyable dining experience.
- The safest ways to handle food are usually the most efficient. Don’t take chances in the name of saving time. Thawing meat and poultry products at room temperature and partial cooking are examples of practices that can seem like good ideas, but that may actually encourage bacterial growth by keeping food in the “Danger Zone” (40°-140 °F.) where bacteria multiply fastest. In the case of bacteria that produce heat-resistant toxins, this becomes a problem that further cooking can’t fix.
- Safe food handling practices are the ones most likely to preserve food’s peak quality. Keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold inhibits the growth of the microorganisms that can spoil your food or make you ill. Storage at the proper temperature also retains the fresh appearance, pleasant aroma, and agreeable texture that contribute so strongly to an enjoyable dining experience.
- A well run and organized commercial kitchen space have to be streamlined, safe, and incredibly clean. Colour coding is a crucial part of preventing cross-contamination between different food types, including raw and cooked foods that could cause food poisoning. Utilizing the simple idea of color-coding can help your reputation as a business and can benefit your food hygiene rating.