Being Informed On Food Safety Systems And Procedures
How Many Food Safety And Procedures Are There
Food safety is a scientific process of handling, preparing and storing the food in a way that prevents harmful bacteria contaminating the food. Food safety process in food business makes sure that the food is safe for consumption. It also assures that the consumers are safe from foodborne illnesses and food poisoning. There are basically five key principles of food safety.
- Keep food safe from contamination
- Separate cooked and raw food to prevent cross contamination
- Cook foods to attain minimum internal temperature for appropriate time period
- Store food out of the temperature danger zone
- Use safe water and raw materials for cooking food
What Are The Main Food Safety and Procedures To Know
Food safety and guidelines for safe food in the U.S. is controlled by multiple state and local departments. From growing fresh foods to food processing, cooking and serving it to the customers, food handlers need to comply with control points at every stage of food supply chain.
The United States Food and Drug Administration, USFDA monitors tobacco products, dietary supplements, medicines, and drugs as part of its aim to promote and protect public health. Food Safety Modernization Act, FSMA authorizes the United States Food and Drug Administration to regulate the way food, fruits vegetables, and cereals are grown, harvested, and processed.
Food Safety Modernization Act came into existence after several cases of foodborne illness were reported in early 2000s.
Similarly, United States Department Agriculture, USDA is responsible for monitoring food and drug, agriculture and nutrition. USDA issues guidelines on food safety and quality. It also ensures meat poultry products are safe to consume and properly labeled.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC creates awareness on handling of food products. Food handlers need to comply with the guidelines on safe food cooking and storing temperatures, food handling to prevent foodborne illness and promote public health.
The US food and drug administration also has its critical control points that mentions the standards related to food preparation, packaging and preserving. The US food and drug has also come up with a food safety management systemHazard Analysis Critical Control, HACCP plan to analyze the possibilities of food safety hazards and suggests preventive steps.
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Safe food preparation
Consumers can be kept safe by following some simple but valuable food safety tips in the kitchen. These tips can be divided into 4 broad categories; Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. Let's take each one of these categories in detail.
Clean- Wash hands, boards utensils, and surface
- Wash hands with soap and running water
- Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils with hot soapy water especially after used for raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs
- Rinse fresh produce vegetables under running water
- Don't wash meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood as it can spread harmful germs around your kitchen
Separate- Use separate cutting boards and utensils for different foods
- Use separate cutting boards for produce, meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs
- Use separate utensils for cooked food and raw food
Cook- When the minimum internal temperature is high to kill the germs causing illness, food can be categorized as safely cooked
Chill- It is vital to refrigerate and freeze food properly
- Refrigerate perishable food within two hours
- Place leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate promptly to allow quick cooling
- Freezing doesn't destroy germs, but it helps keep food safe until you cook it
Safe food storage and display
It is important to safely store and display food for food safety. Here are some tips for the management systems-
- In order to avoid cross-contamination, store raw food and ready eat food separately
- Use good quality storage containers for foods, wash and sanitize before use
- Avoid reuse of containers that are meant to be used once
- Avoid storing food in open cans as there is a danger of airborne contamination
- Cover the food properly before storing
- Always store food in specified areas like refrigerators, cold storage, pantries, and storerooms
- Never store food in areas or floors where chemicals, cleaning equipment, clothing, and other things are present
- Avoid temperature danger zone for storage of food
- Always refer to display labels before using the food and check for the expiry date on packages
- Have trained professionals for safe food handling
Any type of cross-contamination can be dangerous for food. Make sure to use separate products for different types of foods. Avoid using the same cutting boards for raw meat, cooked food, imported food, vegetables, and other produce. The management system may devise a color-coded system for different foods which may help your staff keep track of the food.
Here are some tips to avoid cross-contamination-
- Wash your hands frequently, especially between handling different foods
- Clean and sanitize utensils and equipment after use
- Avoid storage of prepared and raw foods together
- Use different utensils and cutting boards for different foods, clean and sanitize surfaces after every task
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Gloves are frequently used in the food industry especially in the food prep process. The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods in its report concluded that if the food comes into contact with bare hand, it contributes greatly to the transmission of foodborne illness. The FDA also suggests that washing hands alone is not sufficient to prevent transmitting the pathogens. That's why use of gloves is so important in the kitchen.
Here are the five best uses of food handling gloves in a kitchen-
- Prevent cross contamination
- Protect your hands from chemicals
- Keep your hands clean
- Maintain safety for your family members
- Serve food with order and sanitation
Temperature danger zone
Temperature danger zone represents the temperature range where growth of harmful bacteria is fastest. The critical limits for danger zone for food is the temperature range between 41 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the most hospitable zone for growth of harmful bacteria is considered between the temperature range of 70 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit. The longer time food is kept in this zone, the greater risk of growing harmful bacteria on the food.
Cold food storage
One basic principle for cold food storage is to keep cold food colder. The critical limits for storing cold foods is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. For frozen foods, the storage temperature must be maintained at the control point of 5 degrees Fahrenheit or colder for food safety.
Food serving and labelling
Make sure that all the utensils, crockery and cutlery is clean and sanitized before serving the food. Labelling of food is important to fetch the information about the food which starts at the level of supply chain itself. But these labels can contain bacteria so safety management systems avoid using them on the food itself.
Be it at home or in restaurant, it is vital to follow food safety procedures. Cook food at the right and recommended temperature, store the food at appropriate temperature to avoid cross contamination. Such corrective actions prevent harmful bacteria from growing on the food. It is a legal requirement of food industry to receive, store, process and display food with all necessary steps of food hygiene to avoid contamination and risk of foodborne diseases to the consumer.
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