Food is one of the basic needs of an individual to be able to survive. That is why it is important to handle food very carefully to ensure that it is safe to eat. Since you can’t see, smell or taste the harmful bacteria that may be present on the fruits, meat, fish or vegetables, you need to take extra caution. Food safety starts in the process of shopping. To avoid contamination of the food items that you buy at the grocery store, follow these simple and easy ways. Heed these healthy advice and you are sure that the food you’ll be serving to your family is clean and bacteria-free.
- Since bacteria thrive at room temperature, buy frozen or cold foods last. After shopping, head straight home and get the meat, fish, eggs and dairy products into the refrigerator as soon as possible.
- Wrap perishables in plastic to avoid cross-contamination of different food items on your cart.
- Check the temperature of your refrigerator and make sure that it is sufficiently cool to keep bacteria from multiplying.
- Organize the content of your refrigerator. Follow the “First in, first out” rule.
- Don’t taste food to check if it is still safe to consume. Wrap it and discard it immediately.
- Cook your food properly and thoroughly to the right temperature.
- Keep your fridge clean and organized.
- Keep your preparation area safe and clean.
- Serve foods at their proper temperatures. Cold foods must be served cold and hot foods must be served hot.
- Discard food which has been left out at room temperature for over two hours.
Laws have been established and implemented to ensure that foods being served in restaurants and other similar establishments are free of any contaminants and deemed safe for consumption. Keep in mind that improper handling of food can pose serious health risks since bacteria grow easily if given the chance. That said, restaurant owners need to pass safety inspections to ascertain that they properly comply with the safety regulations and laws stipulated by the local health department.
Working With Local Health Department Inspectors
The Local Health Department will usually send out inspectors to a particular establishment to check the utensils used for cooking, the overall sanitation of the area as well as the food storage locations. The inspectors will also ensure that the chefs and servers follow the proper guidelines on food handling and storage. If the inspection revealed that the establishment failed to comply with the food safety law, then they will issue the applicable fines to the owner (for minor violations) or they may completely shut down the restaurantâ€™s operation if the establishment committed a major violation.
The Health Department works along restaurant owners to help establish the appropriate food handling practices to avoid the possibility of food contamination that can give rise to many food-borne diseases. Inspections are done at random and inspectors will usually show up unannounced hence why restaurants must ensure that they are following the food safety guideline all the time so that they wonâ€™t be put in a compromising situation should an inspector show up unexpectedly to do a surprise evaluation..
The HACCP System
The Local Health Department makes use of a system called as HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) which consists of seven critical steps designed to guarantee proper food handling and safety.HACCP was originally designed to ensure that foods consumed by NASA astronauts are safe and free of any form of bacteria. Knowing this, you can be assured that this system really works! Food Microbiology, Risk Assessment and Quality Control are the three crucial elements of the HACCP system.
Preventing Food Contamination
Food contamination can be easily avoided if you pay careful attention to the safety procedures required for preparing and handling food. There are many safety guidelines that you should follow to ascertain that you will be serving clean and bacteria-free food to your customers. One important procedure when preparing food is to thaw frozen goods properly. Using the microwave is perhaps the easiest way to thaw frozen foods but you can also thaw it under running water maintaining a temperature of 70 degree Fahrenheit or below for about two hours. Meat and poultry should be cooked using the correct internal temperatures, and this is where food thermometers come in handy. Restaurants must be equipped with cooking thermometers to ascertain that foods are cooked properly.
For food storage, the important rule to remember is to keep foods away from contaminants and prevent them from being spoilt. Be sure to clean meat, poultry and vegetables before storing them in the refrigerator. Wrap each item separately and label the package indicating the date when they were first received.