FOOD SECURITY


FOOD SECURITY

Food safety is used as a scientific discipline describing handle, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent food-borne illness. The occurrence of two or more cases of a similar illnesses resulting from the ingestion of a common food is known as a food-borne disease outbreak.


This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potential health hazards. In this way food safety often overlaps with food defense to prevent harm to consumers. The tracks within this line of thought are safety between industry and the market and then between the market and the consumer.

Food safety considerations include the origins of food including the practices relating to food labeling, food hygiene, food additives and pesticide residues, as well as policies on biotechnology and food and guidelines for the management of governmental import and export inspection and certification systems for foods.

In considering market to consumer practices, the usual thought is that food ought to be safe in the market and the concern is safe delivery and preparation of the food for the consumer. Food can transmit pathogens which can result in the illness or death of the person or other animals. The main mediums are bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungus. It can also serve as a growth and reproductive medium for pathogens.

In developed countries there are intricate standards for food preparation, whereas in lesser developed countries there are fewer standards and less enforcement of those standards. Another main issue is simply the availability of adequate safe water, which is usually a critical item in the spreading of diseases.

In theory, food poisoning is 100% preventable. However, this cannot be achieved due to the number of persons involved in the supply chain, as well as the fact that pathogens can be introduced into foods no matter how many precautions are taken.


THE FIVE KEY PRINCIPLES OF FOOD HYGIENE, ACCORDING TO WHO, ARE:

1.     Prevent contaminating food with pathogens spreading from people, pets, and pests.
2.     Separate raw and cooked foods to prevent contaminating the cooked foods.
3.     Cook foods for the appropriate length of time and at the appropriate temperature to kill pathogens.
4.     Store food at the proper temperature.
5.     Use safe water and safe raw materials.


TYPES OF FOOD CONTAMINATION

1.    Chemical contamination: Chemical contamination happens when food is contaminated with a natural or artificial chemical substance. Common sources of chemical contamination can include: pesticides, herbicides, veterinary drugs, water, air or soil pollution, cross-contamination during food processing, migration from food packaging materials, presence of natural toxins or use of unapproved food additives and adulterants.

2.    Physical contamination: Physical contaminants are objects such as hair, plant stalks or pieces of plastic and metal. When the foreign object comes into the food, it is a physical contaminant. However, If the foreign objects are bacteria, the case will a physical and biological contamination.

3.    Biological contamination: Biological contamination refers to food that has been contaminated by substances produced by living creatures, such as humans, rodents, pests or microorganisms. This includes bacterial contamination, viral contamination, or parasite contamination that is transferred through saliva, pest droppings, blood or faecal matter.

Bacterial contamination is the most common cause of food poisoning worldwide. If an environment is high in starch or protein, water, oxygen, has a neutral PH level, and maintains a temperature between 5ºC and 60ºC (danger zone) for even a brief period of time (~0-20 minutes), bacteria are likely to survive.


SAFE FOOD HANDLING PROCEDURES FROM MARKET TO CONSUMER

To keep food safe, all forms of contamination should be considered when deciding if a food is safe or unsafe, as some forms or contamination will not leave any apparent signs. Bacteria may not be visible to the naked eye, debris (physical contamination) may be underneath the surface of a food, and chemicals may be clear or tasteless; the contaminated food may not change in smell, texture, appearance, or taste, and could still be contaminated. Any foods deemed contaminated should be disposed of immediately, and any surrounding food should be checked for additional contamination. Below are tips to handling safe food:


ü Proper storage, sanitary tools and work spaces, heating and cooling properly and to adequate temperatures, and avoiding contact with other uncooked foods can greatly reduce the chances of contamination.

ü Tightly sealed water and air proof containers are good measures to limit the chances of both physical and biological contamination during storage.

ü Food should be consumed within one to seven (1-7) days while it has been stored in a cold environment, or one to twelve (1-12) months if it was in a frozen environment (if it was frozen immediately after preparation).

ü Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours—1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F (32.2 ºC). Check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer with an appliance thermometer. The refrigerator should be at 40 °F (4.4 ºC) or below and the freezer at 0 °F (-17.7 ºC) or below. For example, liquid foods like soup kept in a hot slow cooker (65° C) may last only a few hours before contamination, but fresh meats like beef and lamb that are promptly frozen (-2° C) can last up to a year.

ü The geographical location can also be a factor if it is in close proximity to wildlife. Animals like rodents and insects can infiltrate a container or prep area if left unattended. Any food that has been stored while in an exposed environment should be carefully inspected before consuming, especially if it was at risk of being in contact with animals.

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