What are food safety hazards ?
Food safety is a major concern for us all. In the US alone, there are 76 million cases of foodborne illness each year. We also spend over $37 billion on healthcare expenses related to foodborne illnesses. It's important to be educated about what exactly can make our food unsafe. Here are some common food safety hazards that we need to be cautious about.
5 Ways You Can Prevent Food Safety Hazards In The Kitchen
What Are Food Safety Hazards And 5 Ways You Can Prevent them?
Before we discuss ways to prevent food safety hazards, let us understand the different types of food safety hazards that hang over our kitchens.
1. Biological Hazards
- When your food gets contaminated by microorganisms like bacteria or fungi, it is called a biological hazard. This is one of the most common food hazards considering the omnipresence of these microorganisms. They are present in the air, water, animals, and humans, thus food handlers need to be extra careful in the kitchen as well as the store-rooms.
- If these bacteria and viruses, somehow, make their way into our food, they can severe foodborne illnesses. Less acidic foods like milk, moist food are more prone to bacteria.
- Some common foods that are prone to biological hazards
- Foods like fruits vegetables, eggs, poultry, and meat are prone to a bacteria called Salmonella.
- Undercooked ground beef, unpasteurized milk, and fresh produce fear E-coli attack.
- Campylobacter is responsible for most of the foodborne illnesses in the USA, as per the United States Food and Drug Administration. Raw and undercooked poultry and contaminated water provide favorable conditions for the growth of Campylobacter.
2. Chemical hazards
Chemical hazards occur when harmful substances are either added to food or may make their way into food naturally. Pesticide sprayed fresh produce is one example of naturally occurring chemical hazards. When preservatives like sodium nitrate or other chemical substances are added to food, it paves the way for man-made chemical hazards.
3. Physical Hazards
- The presence of foreign substances in food can cause physical hazards. The foreign substance could be something as naturally occurring as the stem of fresh produce or completely unhygienic and unnatural like hair, a piece of glass, or an insect.
- Unnatural physical hazards can cause severe medical conditions and are more dangerous than natural physical hazards.
- Physical hazards can be prevented by strictly following food safety norms like Hazard Analysis Critical Control, and conducting regular inspections on the premises of the food business.
- Hazard Analysis Critical Control is suggested by US FDA as a food safety management system that analyses the possibilities of physical hazards, chemical hazards, and biological hazards, and suggests preventive steps.
Know about one of the most common food safety hazards
4. Allergenic Hazards
As many as 32 million people in the USA suffer from food allergies. A lot of them, mostly children were found to be allergic to milk and eggs, while peanuts and shellfish were the common allergens for others, as per a report by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Therefore, US FDA has set up a different branch called the Centre of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, which is solely responsible for food labeling. It ensures food businesses disclose all the ingredients on food packets and cans.
Consumers can go through the labels and skip buying the product if it consists of any substance they are allergic to.
Food safety hazards can be found in the kitchen.
These food safety hazards can be found in the kitchen, but by following these five simple steps you can say goodbye to them!
- Right temperature is the key to unlock food safety , food taste and texture and its longevity.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has defined the temperature range between 40 Fahrenheit to 140 Fahrenheit as a danger zone . Storing food in this temperature range can spoil your food, no matter how well you have cooked.
- Keeping food in the temperature danger zone speeds up bacterial growth, increasing the risk of foodborne illness like food poisoning .
- It is suggested to keep hot foods above 140 Fahrenheit to make sure they are fresh and safe for consumption. Similarly, food business store cold foods below 40 Fahrenheit.
- It is advised to refrigerate food within two hours of cooking. This will add to the longevity of the food, keeping its nutritional value almost intact.
Clean your kitchen tops regularly after using them. If you are using kitchen counters for slicing raw meat or poultry, wash it thoroughly after you are done. That's because raw meat and poultry are highly vulnerable to bacteria like Salmonella .
If you use the same kitchen top to cut the fresh produce , immediately after chopping meat, it can lead to cross contamination, and further cause food poisoning and other foodborne illness .
- Whether at home or going out on a picnic make sure to keep raw foods like fruits and vegetables or fresh produce and cooked foods in separate boxes. This will reduce the possibility of ross contamination .
- Similarly, store greens and other vegetables separately as the former is more prone to E-coli. The cross contamination can cause foodborne illnesses .
Food safety hazards in the kitchen can be found in many places.
These food safety hazards can lead to many other health issues for your family, which is why it’s important to make sure you have a clean and safe kitchen.
No matter how thoroughly you wash your vegetables or how carefully you pick raw meat from the market, you cannot challenge invisible microscopic germs.
Cooking food at the right temperature can kill these microorganisms-- salmonella, Listeria. Thus, preventing you from foodborne illnesses.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued the advisory on ideal temperature. for cooking different meats. For instance, it recommends to cook ground meat like port and beef at 160F, whereas for poultry including chicken and turkey, the ideal temperature is 165F.
Food handlers are suggested to use food thermometer to ensure the food is cooked at the right temperature. The steps is in direction to protect public health .
- Apart from ensuring the ideal cooking and storage temperature, food handlers and operator of food businesses should take care of the correct thawing temperature to ensure Food Safety.
- Experts suggest thawing frozen food in the refrigerator itself or cold water as part of Food Safety norms.
- . If you keep the frozen food directly at room temperature, the outer part gets warm easily, allowing the microorganisms to enter in. This can cause food hazards, increasing the risk of foodborne illnesses.
- Also, make sure that the temperature of your refrigerator is below 40 F, otherwise, your food can turn bad in no time.
How Can Tech Minimize Food Safety Hazards?
- Our kitchens are surrounded by technology to keep Food Safe . Though we agree that restaurant kitchens or food business use smarter technology to make sure Food Safety is maintained, as public health is at stake.
- Sensors in refrigerators and coolers ensure that the temperature is within the desired range.
- Similarly, food thermometers help you read the internal temperature of the food/meat, ensuring a properly cooked dish.
- Food safety apps have automatic Hazard Analysis Critical Control logs. These can help food business and food handlers in United States to check if Food Safety practices are being followed.
Food safety hazards can be found in the kitchen. This will help ensure that your family stays healthy while eating.
Say goodbye to food safety hazards in your kitchen by following five simple steps!