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Food safety: Avoiding food poisoning

Posted Tuesday, August 29, 2006

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How to avoid food poisoning

Do not let germs get onto food

➡ Handle and prepare food by using good hygienic practices and avoid cross-contamination from surfaces, utensils, equipment, machinery, cloth or hands.

➡ Observe strict personal hygiene.

➡ Use water fit for human consumption.

➡ Any food should be protected from animals.

➡ Clean and disinfect food preparation surfaces and equipment.

Prevent the multiplication of germs in food

➡ Keep food under 10 ºC or above 65 ºC.

➡ Food should not be kept more than 2 hours between 10 ºC and 65 ºC.

Destroy any germs in food

➡ Food must be cooked above 75 ºC

➡ Clean and disinfect vegetables which are served raw served.

WHAT IS FOOD POISONING?

Food poisoning is a disease which has digestive symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea, and which is caused by eating food contaminated by bacteria (germs), such as salmonella.

Dining halls in summer camps and other installations for children are considered risk establishments, as users are children and young adolescents. These diseases may have severe consequences for their health.

HOW PROCESSED FOOD IS CONTAMINATED

Bacteria which contaminate food come either from the environment or the inadequate preparation, processing and storage of food.

CROSS-CONTAMINATION

It is the most frequent cause of food poisoning. It occurs when bacteria spread from a contaminated product, especially if raw, to a ready-to-eat product through utensils, equipment, surfaces, cloth or hands.

CONTROL OF FOOD SOURCES

➡ Buy them in authorised establishments.

➡ Select and control raw materials. If you have any doubts, discard them.

➡ Transport must be done in good hygienic conditions, if necessary, in refrigerated vehicles.

KEEP AWAY ANIMALS AND INSECTS!

The presence of insects, rodents and other animals must be prevented.

➡ Apply hygienic measures (remove rubbish daily, etc.), equip yourself with devices that prevent or impede their access (mosquito nets, waste pipes, etc.) and check them.

➡ Prevent pets from entering in the areas designed for the preparation, handling and storage of food.

CLEAN, AND ALSO DISINFECT

Cleaning and disinfection of utensils, equipment, working surfaces must be done:

➡ After using and before handling different food (raw or ready-to-eat), and at the end of the day.

➡ Using hot water, detergents and disinfectants. Detergents eliminate grease and dirt. Disinfectants get rid of microbial agents.

USE WATER FIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION

➡ If the water supply does not come from the public water supply, use a disinfection system.

➡ If there are tanks, clean and disinfect them regularly, and check they are conveniently covered and protected from all sources of contamination.

➡ Regularly check tap water levels of disinfection are correct (i.e. chlorine).

OBSERVE SCRUPULOUS PERSONAL HYGIENE

Individuals are a natural source of bacteria. Therefore, we have to keep ourselves clean when handling food products.

➡ Wear clean, working clothing.

➡ Wear the hair short or tied up, and clean.

➡ Keep your nails short and clean.

➡ Do not wear bracelets, rings, watches or any other objects in your hands and arms.

➡ Do not handle food products while you have symptoms of digestive or skin diseases or you carry any other infectious diseases.

➡ Protect injuries and skin injuries with waterproof dressings.

➡ Do not smoke, eat, chew chewing gum in installations designed for food handling and preparation.

➡ Do not cough or sneeze on food nor hands. Do it on disposable handkerchiefs.

WASH YOUR HANDS

When?

➡ Before undertaking any activities.

➡ After being in contact with any possible source of contamination: using the toilet; using a handkerchief when you cough, sneeze, our blow your nose; after touching your hair, eyes, ears, and after handling rubbish or raw food.

➡ Before giving food to children.

How?

➡ Use liquid soap and hot water.

➡ Rinse off the soap with clean water thoroughly.

➡ Rinse your hands with disposable towels.

HOW TO PREPARE AND SERVE FOOD

➡ Do not prepare food too far in advance. Children must consume it within 2 hours after cooking, or within 4 hours at the most.

➡ Wash fruit and vegetables under running water and disinfect putting them into water with a little bit of bleach. Rinse off under running water thoroughly.

FIRING TEMPERATURES ELIMINATE BACTERIA, REFRIGERATION TEMPERATURES AVOID THEIR PROLIFERATION

➡ Respect holding temperatures for different products.

_ Products of animal origin between 1-4ºC


_ Vegetables below 12 ºC

_ Frozen products -18 ºC or below.

Check and register regularly these temperatures.

➡ Make sure that when you defrost frozen products the liquid from defrosting does not contaminate other foods or surfaces of the fridge. Do not refreeze once defrosted.

➡ Cook food in temperatures above 75 ºC. Check the interior temperature of the product with a thermometer. This is of the foremost importance for some products such as hamburgers sausages, omelettes, crème caramel…

➡ Keep cooked foods at a temperature of at least 65 ºC until consumed or keep refrigerated if cannot be eaten at once or are served cold.

➡ Keep at 4 ºC as soon as possible. To speed up the loss of heat, you can break them up and place them in containers or install a fast freezer. Keep frozen until used.

➡ Reheat thoroughly straight away before eating at a temperature of at least 65 ºC.

AVOID CROSS-CONTAMINATION

➡ Use different areas, surfaces, equipment and utensils for raw food handling and for ready-to-use foods. When not possible, clean and disinfect thoroughly.

➡ Use clean cloths and wash after using.

➡ Store food in specific areas so that ready-to-eat foods are separated from raw food.

➡ Eliminate packages (cartons, packaging for vegetables…)

➡ Above all, wash hands after handling raw food or other sources of contamination.

 
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