Before anything else, it is important to first define food safety. The term refers to the practices and conditions that preserve the quality of food in order to avoid food-borne illnesses and contamination. It also pertains to the sanitation and hygiene of food.
A food safety policy contains the proper way to handle, store and prepare food to prevent contamination and infection. The goal of the policy is to ensure the food has enough nutrients to provide people with a healthy diet. Unsafe foods are exposed to germs and dirt or have gone stale, which can cause diseases and infections to those who have consumed them.
Safe food handling starts at the production and continues all throughout the preparation and manufacturing process. If unsafe handling happens at any phase of the production, there will be a risk of contamination. There are instances in which contamination happens at the meat production, and inadvertently sold to consumers. To reduce this risk, guidelines have been placed to inspect meat production, and at processing plants. That way, potential risks of contamination are addressed.
Importance of a Food Safety Policy
Millions of people have been reported to suffer from food-borne illnesses. And the main causes of the illnesses are viruses and bacteria that include Hepatitis A, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, and E. Coli. Some of the diseases caused by contaminated food include meningitis and diarrhoea. These illnesses can make people sick. Some conditions can also be life threatening. When people get sick, they are weak and have a hard time concentrating or working.
Some of the infections also make it hard for the body to absorb nutrients it requires to maintain its health. Stale or unsafe foods are of poor quality that means they don’t have enough nutrients for a healthy diet. Eating unsafe food can result to poor nutrition.
There are several ways in which food can be contaminated. Food safety consultants can teach companies how to properly handle, process and store food products. There are some food products that may already have parasites and bacteria. If food products are not handled properly during the packaging process, the germs can spread. Contamination can also occur when food is improperly stored or cooked.
It is important to note that all types of foods can be contaminated. Foods with higher risk to be contaminated include poultry, cheese, eggs, red meats, dairy products, raw fish, shellfish, and raw sprouts.
Companies in the food industry must know safe food handling practices, which should be part of their food safety policy. The food’s peak quality is preserved through proper handling. It is important to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot to prevent the growth of microorganism that can spoil the food and make those who consume it ill. Proper storage at the right temperature will retain its fresh appearance, good texture, and wonderful aroma.
Food safety consultants are able to teach companies the safest methods to handle food, which are also known to be the most efficient ones. Shortcuts might save time but can also encourage bacterial growth.
Business owners have various responsibilities that can keep them busy throughout the day. There are instances in which they can overlook things that might not seem to be important until there are problems. And at present, food-borne illnesses have become a serious concern for companies belonging in the food industry.
In most countries, food handlers are required to train in food safety. Companies can employ the services of food safety consultants to help them create policies and processes to ensure the freshness and quality of food. That way they will be compliance with rules and regulations regarding food safety.
Noncompliance with food safety laws and standards will not only increase the risks of contamination, but the business also risks being shut down temporarily or permanently. Fines are also issued due to noncompliance. That’s why business owners must take food safety seriously.
The food safety policy is a documented set of guidelines with the goal of preventing problems with food safety before they happen, instead of relying on reactive methods once there are already problems with food contamination. The policy covers all the elements of food service of the company, and there are processes for every step of the food manufacturing process. It includes systems that keep food safe, such as staff hygiene and health, waste management, staff training, recall procedures, cleaning, and pest control.
Define Food Safety to Consumers
It is also important for consumers to know about the proper food safety practices. Contamination can occur because of the lack of awareness. Consumers need to know proper hygiene before handling food, as well as making sure that surfaces and utensils are clean. That way food contamination can be avoided.
Consumers must also know how to cook and store food at safe temperatures. The best way for food to be stored in a safe manner is to allow it to thaw in a refrigerator. The common cause of food contamination is cross contamination. One can greatly reduce the risk of contamination by maintaining the cleanliness of the surfaces and utensils.
Now you know how to define food safety and its importance to the entire food supply chain. Businesses in the food industry also need to have a clear food safety policy to ensure that employees know how to handle, store, and process food items. And the best way to develop one is through the help of food safety consultants.