Food safety is a science-based discipline, procedure, or action that guards against the presence of contaminants that might be harmful to a person’s health in food. Having food that is safe to eat is the goal of food safety.
Regarding the items you deal with in your food business, food safety refers to the correct food handling techniques used throughout food preparation, processing, storage, and delivery. All links in the food supply chain are still plagued by worries about maintaining the integrity of food safety. Agriculture, final product packing, and transportation to the consumer’s table are all parts of the food production life cycle that are of concern.
Understanding what could compromise the integrity and stability of food is necessary for controlling its safety. Contaminations in your food supply chain are detrimental to food safety. These contaminants may be brought on by biological, chemical, physical, or radioactive risks that might have an impact on all significant points in your business.
Food-related illnesses and accidents can happen
Food safety is made up of methods for handling food that may be used to make food items healthy. To preserve food safety, every link in the food supply chain must adhere to set laws and norms. For example, cooking meat to the proper internal temperature can prevent undercooked meat, proper segregation can prevent cross-contamination, foods should be stored at the proper refrigeration temperatures, and other crucial control points can help prevent infectious diseases from spreading.
Take special care with high-risk foods
On some types of food, food-poisoning bacteria can grow and proliferate more readily than on others. Foods that pose a danger include:
- Raw and cooked meat, including chicken and minced meat, and foods containing them, such as casseroles, curries, and lasagna
- dairy products, including custard and dairy-based desserts like cheesecake and custard tarts
- smallgoods, including ham and salami; seafood, including seafood salad, patties, fish balls, and stews with seafood and fish stock
- and eggs and egg products, including mousse.
- Prepared dishes like sandwiches, buns, and pizzas that include any of the aforementioned items include cooked rice and pasta
- prepared salads such coleslaws, pasta salads, and rice salads
- prepared fruit salads, and prepared fruit salads.
When opened, packaged, canted, and jarred foods can become high-risk foods and should be handled and kept carefully.
Storing food in the fridge
The temperature in your refrigerator should be 5 °C or lower. The freezer should be kept at or below -15 °C. Check the temperature in your refrigerator with a thermometer.
Freezing food safely
Buy chilled and frozen foods last during your trip to the store, then transport them as soon as you get home to store them. Try to include an insulated cooler bag or an ice pack to keep frozen items chilled on hot days or for journeys lasting more than 30 minutes. While you transport the food home, keep the hot and cold items apart.
Place refrigerated and frozen goods in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as you get home. Make sure the food you are freezing is solidly frozen.
Storing cooked food safely
When you wish to chill down prepared food:
- To aid in the quickest possible cooling, place hot food in shallow dishes or divide into smaller servings.
- Avoid putting hot food in the fridge. Before putting food in the refrigerator, wait until no longer steaming from the food.
Avoid refreezing thawed food
Avoid thawing frozen food in the temperature risk zone because food poisoning germs might flourish there. Prior to cooking, store defrosted food in the refrigerator. Cook the meal right away after defrosting it if you’re using a microwave to defrost it.
Avoid refreezing thawed food in general. Food that has been frozen twice is more likely to contain harmful microorganisms. The danger is based on how the food was handled during thawing and refreezing as well as its state when it was frozen. Once thawed, raw food should never be frozen again.
Store raw food separately from cooked food
Foods should be kept separate from cooked food in the refrigerator. Cold cooked food can get contaminated by germs from raw food, and if the meal is not fully cooked again, the bacteria can grow to lethal levels.
Raw food should always be kept in closed or airtight containers in the bottom of the refrigerator. To prevent liquids like meat juices from leaking down and contaminating the cooked meal, keep raw foods below cooked items.
Choose strong, non-toxic food storage containers
Only use your food storage containers to store food, and make sure they are clean and in good condition. To avoid possible contamination, wrap them in plastic film, foil, or tight-fitting covers. Opened cans should have their contents put into appropriate containers.
If in doubt, throw it out!
Food at high risk that has been in the danger zone for more than 4 hours should be thrown out; it should not be refrigerated or saved for later. Food goods should be discarded if they have passed their use-by dates. Throw it out if you’re unsure of the use-by date.
What is the status of food safety in Pakistan?
Pakistan is currently self-sufficient in key staples; it is rated eighth in the production of wheat, tenth in that of rice, fifth in that of sugarcane, and fourth in that of milk. Despite this, the National Nutritional Survey 2018 from the Ministry of Health and UNICEF found that just 63.1% of households in the nation are “food secure”.
What are the different types of food safety?
There are four different kinds of dangers to take into account:
- risks from microorganisms. Viruses, yeasts, molds, and bacteria are all examples of microbiological risks.
- Chemical dangers
- Physical risks
What are the 7 principles of food safety?
When creating HACCP plans that achieve the stated objective, seven fundamental principles are used. These guidelines cover risk analysis, CCP identification, setting critical limits, monitoring protocols, remedial measures, verification techniques, record-keeping, and documentation.
Why is food safety important?
According to recent data from the World Health Organization, unhygienic food is thought to be the cause of at least 600 million foodborne diseases worldwide. At least 420,000 of these folks pass away each year. Productivity loss and increased medical costs brought on by the burden of foodborne diseases might hinder economic advancement.
Pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria that cause food poisoning or food intoxication, are to blame for the bulk of food safety problems. They may result in minor to severe health issues, such as watery diarrheic, vomiting, stomach discomfort, and even chronic infections and deadly illnesses. Both customers and owners of food businesses may die as a result of food safety problems.
Simple and common foods are readily polluted. High-risk components and any perishable food, such as eggs, poultry, fresh fruits, raw deli meats, deli seafood salads, undercooked seafood, ground beef, raw sprouts, and raw milk products are a few examples of foods linked to common diseases. If precautions are not taken, these substances may become contaminated with intestinal pathogens like bacteria and result in an illness.
Following are a few justifications for maintaining strict control over food safety:
- Protection from food-related diseases and other harms. Protecting consumers of food products from foodborne illnesses or accidents associated with food intake is the primary goal of food safety. Because of insufficient food safety, foodborne diseases pose a serious danger to the food industry and harm people everywhere. Foodborne pathogens, which might include dangerous bacteria, fungus, yeasts, parasites, or viruses, are mostly to blame for these side effects. In addition, chemical compounds, heavy metals, and excessive additions can potentially result in acute poisoning and foodborne diseases. With insufficient food safety management procedures, a disease is likely to flourish depending on the type of your items.
- Cost savings from problems with food safety. Food that has been found to be unsafe may be judged unsuitable for ingestion and may require disposal. Recalls of faulty products increase costs for businesses, have an adverse effect on your profitability, and can result in business collapse. Recall-related expenses are not just measured in terms of financial gain. You can be responsible for paying for medical costs or litigation alleging damages if the food safety issue has spread widely. On the consumer’s side, good food safety practices can lower expensive medical costs due to a lower chance of illness. Eating unhygienic food might result in hospitalization and raise the expense of medical treatment.
- Decrease waste. Food goods that have been found to have problems with food safety may be thrown away. As a result of a more efficient food manufacturing process, a food firm may reduce waste through the adoption of good food safety practices. Systems for managing food safety are also created to find and stop food risks even before they reach manufacturing, which, if processed further, might result in greater waste.
- A superior way of life. Any foodborne disease reduces consumer productivity. Consumers who become unwell will be able to operate normally and, in severe situations, may even require hospitalization. Activities in daily life are drastically disrupted by these incidents. These incidents can be avoided if food safety procedures are followed both at a restaurant and at home. Without the difficulty and risks associated with food safety problems, everyone may relish in the pleasures that food brings and lead a healthy life.
- Food production that is sustainable. Several communities have previously protested against certain methods of food production because of the harm they do to the environment. Food production procedures that safeguard both the customer and the environment are part of good food safety practices. Food safety laws regulate actions such as decreasing the amount of synthetic fertilizers that can contaminate food items. Food safety practices also ensure that drinking water is clean and reduce environmental pollutants including sewage, air pollution, and other pollutants that have a big impact on the environment. These methods are quite effective. Since water is a crucial component in practically all processes, contaminated water may readily damage all other elements and enter the human body.
- Safer globalization of food. All rules pertaining to food safety are created to safeguard customers from problems with food safety. Your products will be as competitive as possible if you follow these thorough recommendations, especially given how quickly the food sector is becoming globally diversified. Your food business has access to a wider distribution network with the help of effective management systems for food safety.
How does food safety help to save lives?
More than people realize, food safety plays a significant role across the whole food chain. To safeguard consumers’ health from any foodborne illnesses, food enterprises must employ food safety management systems. Beyond this idea, food security and safety also contribute to vital societal needs.
When applied correctly, food safety practices may aid in identifying and reducing food safety issues, as well as promoting economic growth, food security, and ongoing, sustainable development. A constant supply of food for everyone may be assured by offering safe food for consumption. The numerous advantages of food safety in a variety of spheres of life demonstrate why it is crucial for everyone.
In the food sector, the idea of farm-to-fork (or farm-to-table) food safety is well-known. According to this idea, food safety must be followed from the point at which raw foods are first generated until the completed product is delivered to the consumer. Laws like the Food Safety Management Act in the United States have set normative food safety practises for cultivating vegetables. The farm-to-fork idea highlights how risks to food safety can appear at any stage of the food supply chain.
Negative effect of food safety
More than 200 illnesses, ranging from cancer to diarrhoea, are brought on by unsafe food that contains dangerous germs, viruses, parasites, or chemical chemicals. Malnutrition and illness spiral out of control as a result, especially impacting the elderly, the sick, young children, and babies.
Causes of poor food safety
The use of filthy and contaminated utensils, inadequate staff self-hygiene practices, incorrect holding temperatures of potentially hazardous foods, wrong cooking temperatures, getting food from unsafe sources, and improper holding temperatures are the top 5 risk factors for foodborne diseases.
3 effects of food insecurity
The risk of developing many chronic health issues, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, mental health disorders, and other chronic diseases, is raised by food insecurity and a lack of inexpensive access to nutrient-rich food.