Preventing Food poisoning – part II

Follow workplace hygiene proceduresIn our last blog, we talked about how to prevent cross contamination of food in order to prevent food poisoning.  This week, we take a more in-depth look at other potential hazards in food preparation and how you, as a food handler, can ensure that meals are prepared safely.

High-risk food 

Bacteria grow and multiply on some types of food more easily than on others. The types of food which bacteria prefer include:

  • meat 

  • poultry 

  • dairy products 

  • eggs 

  • smallgoods 

  • seafood 

  • cooked rice 

  • cooked pasta 

  • prepared salads, coleslaws, and pasta salads

  • prepared fruit salads.

Temperature

Bacteria grow quickly in high-risk foods when kept at temperatures between 5°C and 60°C. This is called the Temperature Danger Zone.

If high-risk food is contaminated with food-poisoning

bacteria and then left in the Temperature Danger

Zone for more than 4 hours, it may cause food poisoning. It is very important not to keep high-risk food in the Temperature Danger Zone any longer than is absolutely necessary.

Cooking food to over 75°C kills most of the bacteria. Make sure food is thoroughly cooked, and that the centre of the cooked food has reached 75°C. 

Water 

Bacteria need moisture to grow. If there is no moisture present, the growth of bacteria may slow down or stop. That is why drying is an effective way to preserve food. However, as soon as moisture is added to dried food, the risk of bacterial growth in the food increases.

Some ways of preventing food poisoning

  • Good personal hygiene, such as thoroughly washing and drying hands when handling food.

  • Avoid cross-contamination, such as keeping raw foods and ready-to-eat foods separate, and using separate, clean utensils, containers and equipment. 

  • Cook food thoroughly; make sure foods such as meats and poultry are cooked until their core temperature reaches 75°C. 

  • Avoid the Temperature Danger Zone; keep chilled food cold at 5°C or colder, while hot food hot at 60°C or hotter.

  • Avoid spoiled foods, foods past their use-by dates, or foods in damaged containers or packaging. 

When in doubt, Food Handlers should throw it out.