Food sanitation is the practice of following certain rules and procedures to prevent the contamination of food and keep it safe to eat. Many jurisdictions around the world have specific food sanitation laws, along with lists of regulations created by public health agencies. The practice of food sanitation is recommended at every step of the supply chain within the food industry, from workers in crop fields to waiters at restaurants. The term "food sanitation" typically refers to rules and procedures within the food industry, whether during production, packaging, transporting, or serving. At the consumer level, such as in a home kitchen, practices designed to ensure that food is uncontaminated and safe to eat are often referred to using the term "food hygiene."
What Is Food Safety?
Food Safety, a scientific method or discipline, refers to the handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways to prevent food-borne illness. If two or more cases of a similar illness result from the ingestion of a common food, it could be a food-borne disease outbreak.
Most times food travels from one place to another. In the process of food transportation from farm to factory to fork, food is prone to getting contaminated. The supply chain needs to ensure that safe food handling practices and procedures are implemented at every stage of the food production life cycle in order to curb any risks. Ensuring Food Safety controls and prevents harm to consumers.
As an academic discipline, food safety draws from many fields including chemistry, microbiology and engineering. The knowledge from each of these fields intersect to ascertain food safety at different levels of food production, food sourcing, manufacturing units, and retail food stores. Food safety, thus, is a systemic approach to hygiene/sanitation and accountability that concerns every aspect of the global food industry.
What Is Sanitation?
Food Sanitation refers to creating and maintaining conditions to prevent food contamination in order to mitigate the risk of any foodborne illness. The primary tenet of food-service sanitation is absolute cleanliness that begins with personal hygiene and the safe handling of foods during preparation. Food sanitation ensures cleanliness and maintenance of equipment and facilities, and hygiene practices followed by food handlers during the production or preparation of food.
Both Food Safety and sanitation come under the ambit of a food safety management system that follows a set of procedures to ensure quality control and compliance with international standards and regulations set by the state and/or federal government by food business operators followed during food processing. The overall purpose of the system is to prevent any health hazards in customers/consumers because of the food products being sold.
Foodborne illness is a real concern for chefs and restaurant owners.
Foodborne illness can be caused by any number of things, from improper cooking to cross-contamination.
What Are The Differences Between Food Safety And Sanitation?
In layman's language, both food safety and sanitation in the food service industry would mean taking all the precautionary measures to ensure that the food that is finally eaten is safe. But can both the terms food safety and food sanitation be used interchangeably? Not really. That's because Food Safety is the larger umbrella, the main content, of which food sanitation or food hygiene is a smaller part.
To explain it a little better- Food safety is a management system that any and all food-related establishments must have in place. The Food Safety management system follows a set of procedures to determine the steps taken by food business operators to ensure quality control and compliance with international standards and regulations set by the state and/or federal government. Its purpose is to prevent any health hazards in customers/consumers because of the food products being sold. The extensive process comprises a formal review that begins with food selection and goes on to review the preparation and preservation methods, and the display.
Whereas, food sanitation is a part of that multi-fold process. It ensures cleanliness and hygiene of people involved in the food service industry, and cleanliness and sanitization of equipment and facilities used to prepare food.
To explain it in detail, here are a few differentiators of food safety and sanitation-
Food safety is a discipline followed for handling, storage, and preparation of food to avoid any foodborne illness.
Food safety protocols help in identifying physical, chemical, or biological hazards, reducing their effects and the risks associated with them, and to better the overall environmental health.
The Centers For Disease Control suggests following four simple steps for food safety Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill to prevent food poisoning.
Food safety guidelines also advocate cooking foods for an appropriate time and at an appropriate temperature to kill pathogens.
Storing food at the proper temperature and using safe water and safe raw materials for food is also a part of food safety.
In the food service industry, sanitation is following cleanliness, hygiene and sanitization protocols that includes cleaning food facilities thoroughly with properly diluted chlorine or quaternary ammonium-based disinfectants during hours of operation.
Sanitation also focuses on personal hygiene of food handlers including regular hand-washing to prevent illness transmission.
Following proper sanitation in a food service industry means keeping pots and pans clean, using food-grade material, and utensils with handles that prevent much contact with food.
Sanitation protocols also commend discarding appliances that are not working properly, or the ones that have cracks and crevices as that can harbor bacteria that can cause a foodborne illness.
Sanitation is keeping the food storage areas clean and covered, so that food is protected from cross contamination, bacteria and any other probable hazards.
How Are Food Safety and Sanitation Alike?
The end goal of a Food Safety System and following proper food sanitation or hygiene is to ensure that any risk of foodborne illness is mitigated in processing food.With a series of specifications and procedures,food safety, which includes food sanitation as well, ensures that the final product that reaches the consumers is safe to eat and won't have health hazards. It's a multi-fold process that requires verifications, documentation and expert reviews at every stage.The Food And drug Administration (FDA) of the USA, citing the Encyclopedia of Food Safety, 2014, talks about some of the main factors leading to foodborne diseases-
Food from unsafe sources
Improper holding temperatures
Contaminated equipment and cross contamination
Poor personal hygiene
Each of these could be handled well if the food service employees have a proper understanding of Food Safety and Sanitation. The FDA illustrates one of the major foodborne outbreaks as a result of inefficient norms- the series of outbreaks of norovirus infection in Denmark in 2005 was associated with one large batch of frozen raspberries, composed of fruit grown on several small-scale farms in Poland. It is a case of foods that are not subjected to a processing that will inactivate foodborne pathogens.
What Do You Need To Know About Food Safety and Sanitation?
One of the foremost things to know about Food Safety and Sanitation is that anyone in the food service industry needs to have an understanding of the guidelines to be followed for food safety. Those in managerial or supervisory roles need exhaustive training in implementing a food safety system, such as HACCP (a set of seven principles, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points is a systematic approach to identify, evaluate, and control food safety hazards.)
Additionally, people who work directly with food, but are not responsible for implementing management systems, need thorough awareness of sanitation or hygiene. They have a legal obligation to understand and follow food sanitation. It is, however, always recommended for anyone in the food service industry to have an understanding of food safety, so that any food hazard could be mitigated.
Foodborne illness is a serious problem in the United States.
It’s hard to know what you should be looking out for, and how to prevent it.
Important Functions Of Food Safety And Sanitation
Having a Food Safety System ensures a better market and business growth for a food service operator. As for people working with food, but not managerial roles, it is legally advisable to understand food sanitation. The magnitude of knowledge they need depends on the specific duties allotted to them and their involvement in food preparation. As per the Food And Drug Administration website, the United States Federal government estimates a whopping 48 million cases of foodborne illness annually the equivalent of sickening 1 in 6 Americans each year. Each year, these illnesses result in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.
Some of the benefits of having an efficient Food Safety and Sanitation system ensures-
Lesser food product recalls or returns.
A trustworthy relationship with customers.
Makes it easier to get an ISO 22000 certification.
Compliance with food laws.
Better public health system.
Better environmental health.
Conclusion To Food Safety And Sanitation
A thorough Food Safety And Sanitation plan in a food business ensures that the Federal food safety regulations, as laid out by the Food And Drug Administration or other government bodies, are being followed. It reassures customers or consumers about your food products and they don't have to worry about the quality of products and services being delivered. Implementing a proper Food Safety and Sanitation System ensures the following-
Safe and hygienic inventory from farm to fork.
Professionals trained in food safety and sanitation make sure that the food is suitable for public health.
Given that most compliance protocols dictated by ISO 22000 are already met, a thoroughly examined Food Safety Management System helps in getting an ISO 22000 certificate easier for a food business.
Food safety and sanitation are important, but they can be hard to follow.
The most common misconception about food safety is that it’s only a concern for restaurants.
Knowing the origins of your food is important because food borne illnesses can be caused by many different things. Some people may think that they can't get sick from food if they are cooking it themselves, but this is not always the case. If you are cooking a raw chicken and you don't wash your hands before you start touching other foods, the raw chicken germs can spread onto those other foods. The same thing goes for if you are cooking a hamburger, and you don't use a separate cutting board for the raw hamburger.
What are the 5 food safety?
1) Keep food at the right temperature 2) Separate raw food from cooked food 3) Cook food to the right temperature 4) Chill food as soon as possible 5) Clean work surfaces, utensils and hands with soap and water