In the area of food safety and proper food handling, there are four generally accepted principles by which the food industry regulates its relationship with all food hygiene issues.
Together, these principles apply to all key areas where food contamination occurs.
By adhering to these principles, we can greatly reduce the hygiene risks involved in food handling and the consequent contamination of food.
The four golden rules of food hygiene are:
Buy food from safe sources.
Prevent bacteria from entering your food.
Prevents the reproduction (or growth) of bacteria in food.
Kills germs on food, utensils and work surfaces
Buy food from safe sources.
Make sure you only buy food from reputable and reputable suppliers. It is important to check that all food products are within the expiry date and are kept in proper conditions in the store.
Service counters should be kept spotless, as should machinery such as meat grinders, knives and slicers.
Freezers, refrigerators and freezers should display their temperature and should be set below 5 degrees Celsius for refrigerated products and -18 degrees Celsius or lower for frozen products.
All packaging should be original and not tampered with or counterfeited. This will indicate that the product is not original content and was produced by a fraudulent company. Do not under any circumstances purchase these products as they can threaten your health.
All reputable retail businesses that sell food are required by law to display current licenses from all necessary regulatory agencies. Check with your local authority to find out what licenses a food store or supermarket must have to operate in your area.
Keep Bacteria Out of Your Food
OK! This is the rhythm that tells you something about the bacteria and their numbers.
All bacteria, when they have the right conditions, start multiplying. What they need is,
a) The temperature exceeds 10 degrees Celsius (some say 5 degrees).
b) food sources. Bacteria break down all organic matter into sugars, which they metabolize using the simple sugar glucose, the basic food molecule.
It takes only 20 minutes for the bacteria to adapt to a new food source. For example, assuming a bacterium suddenly finds itself on fish on a sugary meal, the transition time the bacterium needs to be able to digest the new food source is 20 minutes.
c) water source.
When the right conditions are obtained, the bacteria multiply at a rate of one division of the entire colony every 20 minutes. EG If you start with 1000 bacteria on a piece of food, after 20 minutes you will have 1 million bacteria. In the next 20 minutes, that number jumps to a million bacteria. The numbers after that are simply astronomical!
Keeping bacteria out of your food is primarily about preventing cross-contamination.
Cross-contamination is when any food source comes into contact with any form of contamination from another source. This could be other food (raw or processed), packaging, garbage, contaminated water or air, unclean or sick people, animal life, or unclean tools and surfaces.
In a good professional kitchen, there are different refrigerators with different functions. For example, there is one refrigerator for dairy products, another for cold fresh vegetables, and one for cooked food.
As homeowners, we don’t usually have that luxury, so it’s recommended to keep cooked foods on top of the refrigerator and raw materials on the bottom in airtight containers. This greatly reduces the risk of contamination.
Eggs especially should be kept in an airtight container as their shells harbor a lot of bacteria.
Remember to wash your hands and arms to the elbow before preparing food. Cut the salad first, then tackle the food to be cooked, making sure to wash your plate thoroughly before moving on to a different type of food.
Use a high-quality cleaner to wash all surfaces before and after work. Place the cloth in the wash solution after each use. Always start with a clean cloth.
Prevents the growth of bacteria in food.
As mentioned above, bacteria need the right conditions to divide themselves. For this, they need A) the right temperature, B) food and C) water.
Therefore, food should be stored at the lowest possible temperature to keep the bacteria active. Also, do not allow food to come into contact with water prior to cooking. By thawing food in water, we give bacteria a head start.
Cook your food early and keep it at a temperature of at least 70°C until serving.
If you must cool food, do not put hot food in a large container in the refrigerator. Divide it into smaller containers and don’t stack them in such a way that air can’t circulate around the containers. Freeze once cooled if possible.
With food, do it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Remember, it’s better to plan a meal a few days in advance than to have to call in sick and stay in bed for a few days.
After thawing, cook food as soon as possible.
The best way to kill all germs is to cook food in a pressure cooker. In this way, the combination of elevated temperature and elevated atmospheric pressure will thoroughly sterilize the food.
Rule number 4).
Kills germs on food, utensils and work surfaces.
This rule is self-explanatory. Don’t let them grow in your kitchen.
Cook food as quickly as possible. Foods that cannot be cooked should be refrigerated if not eaten for a short time.
Alternative forms of food preservation, such as dehydration, smoking, canning, sterilization, concentration, and salting, are alternative methods of preventing and destroying bacteria in food.
The surrounding environment is also a source of food contamination, so countertops should be cleaned with hot water and detergent after each use.
In a professional kitchen, all work areas should have a stainless steel finish. This way, the surface can be cleaned with special grease and lime removal chemicals that contain caustic soda or phosphate bases. To be on the safe side, remember never to mix chemicals; especially acids and bases such as caustic soda and phosphoric acid.
Likewise, wash all utensils in very hot water followed by detergent. The water should be hot and you’ll need gloves to handle the heat.
Store pots, pans, plates, utensils, and other utensils in a clean, dry place. Make sure they are dry before storing them away. Use a clean dish towel every time. Store them upside down. Keep all storage areas clean. Check regularly for signs of parasites.
Warm the crockery to 80°C before serving. This will further prevent contamination.
These are the four principles of good food hygiene. Keep an eye on them, and the chances of you or your clients getting sick are greatly reduced.