So, how can we prevent food safety hazards?
We all have serious concerns about food safety. 76 million cases of foodborne illness occur annually in the US alone. Over $37 billion is also spent on medical costs for illnesses caused by contaminated food. The specific factors that can render our food unsafe must be understood. Here are some typical food safety risks that we should be wary of.
In honor of National Food Safety Education Month in September, we wanted to highlight strategies for implementing safer food practices. According to the CDC, foodborne illnesses affect 48 million people annually, many of which are avoidable. The main categories of food safety risks and the most effective preventative measures should be understood by those working in the food service industry.
Four Food Safety Hazards
Let’s first gain an understanding of the various food safety risks that can arise in our kitchens before we talk about how to avoid them.
- It is referred to as a biological hazard when bacteria or fungi contaminate your food. Considering the ubiquitous nature of these microorganisms, this is one of the most frequent food hazards. Food handlers must exercise extra caution in the kitchen and in the storerooms because they are present in the air, the water, the animals, and people.
- These viruses and bacteria have the potential to cause serious foodborne illnesses if they manage to find their way into our food. Food that is moist and less acidic, like milk, is more likely to contain bacteria.
- Some common foods that are prone to biological hazards
- Fruits, vegetables, eggs, poultry, and meat are all susceptible to the Salmonella bacteria.
- Fresh produce, raw milk, and undercooked ground beef are all concerned about E. coli contamination.
- According to the US Food and Drug Administration, campylobacter is to blame for the majority of foodborne illnesses in the country. Conditions that are favorable for the growth of Campylobacter include raw or undercooked poultry and contaminated water.
- Physical risks can result from foreign substances in food. The foreign object may be completely unsanitary and unnatural, such as a piece of glass, an insect, or something as naturally occurring as the stem of fresh produce.
- More dangerous than natural physical hazards are unnatural physical hazards, which can result in serious medical conditions.
- By strictly adhering to food safety standards like Hazard Analysis Critical Control and carrying out routine inspections on the food business’s premises, physical hazards can be avoided.
- The US FDA recommends using a food safety management system called Hazard Analysis Critical Control, which analyzes the potential for physical hazards, chemical hazards, and biological hazards and suggests preventive measures.
Chemical hazards happen when poisonous substances are either intentionally added to food or accidentally end up in it. Fresh produce that has been pesticide-sprayed is one example of a chemical hazard that occurs naturally. Food preservatives like sodium nitrate and other chemicals open the door for hazards created by man-made chemicals.
Food allergies affect up to 32 million people in the USA. According to a study by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, many of them, mostly children, were found to be allergic to milk and eggs, while peanuts and shellfish were the most frequent allergens for others.
As a result, the US FDA established a distinct division called the Centre of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, which is solely in charge of food labeling. It guarantees that food companies list all the ingredients on food packages and cans.
If a product contains an ingredient to which a consumer is allergic, they can read the label and forego purchasing it.
Kitchens have potential threats to food safety.
These kitchen-based food safety risks are present, but by following these five easy steps, you can say goodbye to them.
The Best Way To Avoid Risks To Food Safety
- To ensure food safety, flavor, texture, and longevity, the right temperature is essential.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has defined the temperature range between 40 The danger range is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. No matter how well you cook, food that is stored in this temperature range will go bad.
- Foodborne illnesses like food poisoning are more likely when food is kept in a temperature range that encourages bacterial growth.
- To ensure that hot foods are both fresh and suitable for consumption, it is advised to keep them above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Similar to this, food businesses keep cold foods below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- After cooking, food should be refrigerated as soon as possible. The food will last longer and retain almost all of its nutritional value as a result.
- Make sure to separate raw foods, such as fruits and vegetables, fresh produce, and cooked foods whether you’re at home or going on a picnic. Ross contamination will be less likely as a result.
- Similarly, store greens and other vegetables separately because the former is more likely to contain E. coli. The cross-contamination can cause foodborne illnesses
- Food handlers and owners of food businesses should also take care to maintain the proper thawing temperature in order to ensure food safety.
- As part of the standards for food safety, experts advise thawing frozen food in the refrigerator or cold water.
- . The outer part of the frozen food easily warms up if it is kept at room temperature, which invites bacteria inside. This may result in food hazards and raise the danger of contracting a foodborne illness.
- Additionally, make sure that your refrigerator is not above 40 degrees Fahrenheit because otherwise, your food may quickly go bad.
Regulations And Laws
Laws that help reduce the risk to food safety and ensure safer food safety practices have been implemented by regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). As a result, procedures for ensuring the safety of food are now much more reliable and efficient.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)
When HACCP was introduced in 1997, the traditional “sight, smell, and touch” method of food safety inspection was replaced with a science-based approach. Biological, chemical, and physical hazards along the supply chain can be analyzed using the fundamentals of HACCP. This helps to speed up technology used to manage food safety by preventing outbreaks before they can happen rather than responding to them after the fact. HACCP significantly reduced the number of foodborne illnesses.
Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
Similar to HACCP, FSMA has made it possible to use additional techniques to prevent food contamination. There are three ways to avoid contracting a foodborne illness according to the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food: vehicles and transportation operations must validate temperatures in transit, staff must be trained properly to prevent practices that create food safety risk, and new record keeping requirements created efficient mechanisms to demonstrate proper temperature control. Distributors are better able to avoid foodborne illness by managing food safety proactively.
How Can Technology Reduce Risks To Food Safety?
To keep our food safe, technology has been installed throughout our kitchens. Although we both agree that smarter technology is used in food businesses or restaurant kitchens to ensure food safety because the public’s health is at risk.
- Sensors in coolers and refrigerators make sure the temperature is within the desired range.
- Food thermometers work similarly, allowing you to determine the internal temperature of the food or meat to guarantee a properly cooked dish.
- Apps for food safety have automatic Hazard Analysis Critical Control logs. These can assist food handlers and businesses in the United States in determining whether food safety practices are being adhered to.