Food safety is a hot topic and if you work in any area which involves handling food, then you need to be completely up on what it takes to make sure food is safely treated at all times. Food that has been left out in the war, or used beyond its ‘use by’ date, is enough to cause serious harm to whoever ends up consuming it. Food poisoning is a very real risk and in extreme cases can lead to death. As a food handler, you must do all you possibly can to make sure that you are not putting consumers at risk. There are two main areas where food is at risk, and they are as follows:
Food has to be kept at certain temperatures, and if an item that should be refrigerated is left to get too warm it can cause bacteria to grow, which will lead to illness if consumed. It is essential that, as a food handler, you know exactly which temperatures different types of food should be stored at. You must adhere to legal regulations and know how to check the temperatures of different refrigerators and freezers. Cold rooms must be working properly with fans being free to circulate cooled air around. Food that should be refrigerated, such as milk, cheese, cream and cold meats, need to stay in the ‘cold chain’. This means that it should never be out of refrigeration for longer than a certain point. This includes transportation – so the refrigeration in transport trucks has to be monitored just the same as fridges and freezers.
It should go without saying that before handling any sort of food, you should wash your hands with a good quality anti-bacterial soap. The same applies whenever you leave the preparation room, especially if you go to the toilet. You should keep your hair netted so that no hair can fall into the food. If your hands are dirty when you touch the food then germs will transfer really easily – therefore compromising the safety of the food.
How to Learn More
Because food hygiene and safety is such a big topic, anybody that is working with food needs to know everything there is to know. This is why people are sent on food safety courses. Whoever is responsible for the food’s quality cannot risk compromising the safety, and so employers will always make sending their staff on food safety courses a priority. They are legally responsible for the safety of their food, so they won’t take any risks. You may feel that you don’t need to know any more, but you will find that once you are on the course you will learn a lot that you didn’t already know.
To find a course in your local area, just look online – you will find plenty. Your employer may be able to recommend one.
Food safety is something that everybody should take seriously – the risk to lives otherwise is just not worth it. If you are handling food, make sure you know everything there is to know about keeping it as fresh as possible.
[box_light]This post has been contributed by Mary Phillips, who is currently working for Pharmaceutical Science College of Canada. She is an avid blogger and you can learn more about her and her suggestions at www.pscccanada.ca.[/box_light]
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