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Module 22: Safe Food Handling in Food Service Operations

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Food Safety

In the hospitality industry, it is critically important to keep the food sold hygienic and safe. A dirty restaurant can lead to customer dissatisfaction, and an unsanitary kitchen can put the restaurant out of business.

The World Health Organization has advocated five simple and effective steps for people to follow to prevent food-borne diseases.

Choose safe raw materials
Keep hands and untensils clean
Separate raw and cooked food
Cook thoroughly
Keep food at or below 4C or above 60C

The observance of good hygiene codes and habits by staff can ensure that food is produced in accordance with hygiene and safety requirements, increasing consumer confidence, and enhancing the professional image of the hospitality industry.

It is important to keep the food sold hygienic, safe and free from food-bourne disease

Any problem in food that leads to food poisoning will harm people’s health and cause people to lose confidence in the hospitality industry.

The quality of food and the hygiene of food premises are of equal importance in boosting business and building up a good reputation.

Bacteria grow in food. Food rich in moisture and protein such as milk and meat are very suitable for the growth of bacteria.

Such food includes poultry, meat, shellfish, seafood and dairy products. They are also called high risk foods.

Bacteria are dormant in dry food, which is not favorable for their growth. However it takes only a little moisture for bacteria to become active again.Bacteria quickly grow and multiply under proper temperatures, the danger zone lies between 4C to 60C.

Time

In general, bacteria double every 10 to 20 minutes.

For example, if food contains 1,000 bacteria in the
beginning, the number can reach 1,000,000 within
1 hour and 40 minutes. Such amounts of bacteria per
gram of food can cause serious illness.

Around 70% to 80% of the food poisoning cases are
bacterial food poisoning. Improper temperature control
in food handling is the common reason for bacterial food poisoning.

The most common form of food poisoning and infection is salmonella. The salmonella germs live In the intestinal track of people, pigs and chickens, and can be passed on by eating food which has not been properly prepared.

Foods especially susceptible are ground beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs and egg products. Symptoms occur within 12 - 48 hours and include, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, vomiting and chills

Bacterial infections and poisoning are acute illnesses caused by the consumption of food or drinks contaminated with pathogens (including bacteria, viruses and parasites).

The incubation period can be from a few hours to a few days. Symptoms can include stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhoea etc, but most symptoms are mild.

Common causes of bacterial food poisoning and food-borne disease can include:

Food Preparation

Use of unsafe food source
Inadequate cooking of food
Inadequate thawing of food before cooking
Preparation of food too early in advance
Inadequate reheating of cooked food

Food Storage

Contamination of cooked food

Improper storage - prolonged storage at 4C- 60C

Employees

Lack of attention in employee personal hygiene or
employees infected with intestinal diseases
Consumption of raw food
Consumption of leftovers

Parasites are organisms that can live on, or in a host, where they derive benefit from, or at the expense of the host.

They can be found on various kinds of food, such as meats, seafood and fresh produce.

There are two main types of parasites found in food, they are protozoa and helminths (also known as worms).

Protozoa

Similar to bacteria, protozoa are single cell organisms
They are not able to multiply in food but in humans
Infective dose is generally believed to be low

Examples:

Toxoplasma gondii found in raw or undercooked meat
Giardia lamblia found in contaminated water

Helminths (Worms)

Helminths are multiple cell organisms
Helminths cannot multiply in humans

Examples:

Flukes
Fasciola hepatica found in watercress
Roundworms
Trichinella spiralis, found in pork

Food Contamination refers to any harmful substances unintentionally added to food.
These substances may come from natural sources or environmental pollution, or arise from food processing. There are two types of contamination. Biological Contamination - (including bacteria, viruses and parasites) Sources - Human beings, unprocessed food, pests, dust and soil. Physical Contamination – these are articles or objects which may not pose a threat to customers’ health, but they may do harm to customers, such as pests, packaging materials, hairs, glass fragments and wound dressings. They seriously affect the customers impressions of the hospitality establishment.

Food should be stored at 4C or below or at 63C or above to retard the growth of food poisoning bacteria.

Food should not be left at the temperature danger zone for over 2 hours. The most suitable temperature for bacteria growth is located between 20C to
45C. this is the optimum temperature.

Above 60C most of the bacteria would stop growing and over 60C bacteria start to die off, and the higher the temperature, the less time it takes to kill the bacteria.

Chilling

This cannot kill the bacteria in food, but can slow down its multiplication

4C or below-Only suitable for short-time storage of cook-chilled or cold dishes

Below -2C-Frozen confections (excluding soft ice cream)

Below 10C-Milk or milk based beverages

Freezing

Like chilling, freezing cannot kill the bacteria in food, but can slow down its multiplication, or place bacteria into hibernation.

-20C or below-Bacteria cannot be killed but will stop multiplying

-18C or below-Only suitable for long-term storage of frozen food


Take core temperature of food by inserting the probe into the centre (or thickest part) of the food. If the food thermometer is used to measure hot and cold food, wait for the reading to return to room temperature between measurements.

Store the food thermometer in a clean and hygienic manner. Before using the thermometer, read the manufacturer's instructions first.

Wash with warm water and detergent, sanitize by putting the probe in hot water (at least 77C or above) for 6 seconds, and air dry before use.

Infrared Thermometer

Hand-held, portable infrared thermometers measure the surface temperature, in less than 1 second, of food without contact by measuring the amount of radiant energy emitted from the surface

Unsuitable for measuring the centre temperatures of food during cooking or cooling as only the surface temperature can be measured.

With a sensor in the tip, this type of thermometer can measure temperatures in thin and thick food conveniently. They give readings very quickly.

These thermometers may also be called digital thermometers, because measurements are indicated on a digital display screen.

Stemmed Thermometer

Suitable for measuring the core temperature of thick food (any food more than 76 mm thick), because the entire sensing area of the thermometer must be
inside the food.

These thermometer types give readings within 20 seconds to 2 minutes.

The manufacturer or distributor should be asked to calibrate the food thermometers at least once every year.

The kitchen staff should perform self-checking on the accuracy of food thermometers at least quarterly.

Calibration of thermometers can be performed using the boiling point and ice point methods.

Boiling Point Method

Boil clean tap water and immerse the tip (a minimum of 50 mm)
of the food thermometer into the boiling water

Wait for a few minutes to allow the temperature to stabilize

Write down the temperature of the food thermometer

The temperature should read 100C, if the food thermometer differs more than ±1C, it should be adjusted, repaired, or replaced, if necessary

Ice Point Method

Mix finely crushed ice with clean tap water in a container
and stir well

After 5 minutes, immerse the tip (a minimum of 50mm) of
the food thermometer into the ice water

Wait for approximately 2 minutes and record the temperature

The temperature should read 0C. If it reads more than ±1C, it should be adjusted

Which of the following is not a main source for bacterial contamination?

A) Pests B) Human beings
C) Cooked food D) Dust and soil


Which of the following are considered to be contamination?

A) Micro-organisms B) Chemicals
C) Objects such as hair and staples D) All of the above

Which of the following is not a type of physical contamination?

A) Paint scraps B) Hair
C) Detergent D) Staples


Which colour wound dressing should not be chosen for covering wounds in the kitchen?

A) White B) Transparent
C) Blue D) Flesh colour