Food Safety Management
Food safety is a scientific process of handling, preparing, preserving and storing food in a proper manner to prevent food spoilage. Food safety is determined by providing safety and protection to consumers. Its activities start from the manufacture, continue to the market and eventually proceed further to the way consumers handle food. Industry and market food safety practices include food labelling, hygiene, food additives and guidelines on food safety management of government inspections regarding the imported and exported foods. In relation to markets and consumers, food safety is managed by proper delivery and preparation. Poor handling of food can lead to transmission of diseases. It can also promote the spread of bacteria which are core argents of food poisoning. The consequences of consuming unsafe food are extremely dangerous. For this reason, food safety management is established to help identify and control food safety hazards (Matthews 2014, pp. 73-127).
Food spoilage is the deterioration of food edibility. It is the process by which the original nutrient value and flavour of food become harmful. There are many agents responsible for food spoilage. Some of them include light, moisture, temperature, oxygen and bacteria. To begin with, high temperature increases the rate of enzyme reactions and thus influences other food constituents. The increase in enzymatic rate of reactions results in brakeage of proteins. High temperature also makes food lose moisture and dehydrate. When food becomes dry, vitamin content is not favoured; therefore, they get spoiled. Extremely cold temperatures also lead to food spoilage by breaking their surfaces. Breakage of the food surface leads to microbial contamination that increases food spoilage. Bacteria, moulds and yeast cause food spoilage by decomposing its fats and protein content (Fraqueza 2015, pp. 76-88). For instance, meat and fish are much more vulnerable to bacteria. The light mostly leads to damages of foods fats, vitamins and proteins, especially in the liquid form. Presence of moisture on food surface increases its spoilage by encouraging the growth of microorganisms. For instance, in cereals and grains, excess moisture encourages the growth of moulds. Moisture can also cause dry mixes and food powder to lump and crack. The last agent of food spoilage is oxidisation. Oxidation leads to food spoilage by generating compounds of undesirable flavours and odours from fats and oils. This makes them unsafe for consumption.
Methods of Food Preservation
It is important to prevent the impact caused by food spoilage agents such as bacteria, oxidation and extreme temperatures (Ajena et al. 2014, pp. 1-14). The prevention is the only secret behind saving food from spoilage. It starts by understanding the preferable conditions for food spoilage agents, and then an opposite condition is created to inhibit them. There are many methods that can be used for food preservation: canning, smoking, drying, salting, chilling and freezing are the majorly applied methods in most food processing industries. Respectively, marinating, chilling and freezing are the commonly applied methods.
Marination involves soaking of food into a seasoned or often acidic liquid prior to cooking. Marination liquid can either be an enzymatic or acidic solution made of lemon juice, wine or vinegar. Preferred enzymatic liquid is made of kiwi fruit, papaya or pineapple. This method is commonly used to preserve flavoured foods. It is also applied in tenderization of tougher pieces of meat. Marination of meat in an acidic liquid promotes the breakdown of tissues (Cheok et al. 2011, pp. 474- 482). More tissue breakage is favourable for moisture absorption. Marination should be conducted in a refrigerator to ensure maximum food safety. Any kind of preservation should also be performed in a refrigerator. Refrigerator is the preferred site because it inhibits the growth of bacteria. The container used for marination should be made of glass or food-safe plastic. The use of metallic materials is prohibited because metals can react with the acidic liquid and contaminate food. Marination is not only a food preservation measure but also a life saver. For instance, marinating beer or wine reduces chemical levels that cause cancer.
Chilling of food involves lowering the food temperature to range between 0 and 5 degrees Celsius. This range of temperatures is aimed at preventing food spoilage by inhibiting the growth of microbes. Chilling expands the shelflife of fresh food. It also eases other food processing activities such as fermentation and treatment of beer. This is made possible because chilling preserves foods at an optimal temperature level.
Chilling is mostly used in preserving perishable food. It is widely used in food industries that deal with wine and spirits. Distribution of chilled food to consumers needs a sophisticated distribution system with stores, refrigeration transport and a chilled retailed cabinet. Chilled foods are grouped into three categories depending on the storage temperature. The first group is preserved at -10C to +10 and comprises fresh fish, meat, smoked meat and fish, sausages and ground meat. Foods to be preserved at temperatures between 00C to +50C are milk and dairy products, pasteurised canned meat, baked goods, pizzas, prepared salads, unbaked dough and pastry. The temperature of 80C to +80C is favourable for fully cooked fish pies and meat, butter, margarine, cooked or uncooked curled meat, soft fruits and cheese. Wines are classified under the temperatures ranging between 80C to 120C. It is the same range at which products are kept for 6 to 24 hours.
Liquefied foods are chilled by passing their content through a heat exchanger. Food can also be chilled by cooling the container with it. Cooling mediums can be the cold or grounded water. Chilling of solid foods is done by placing them in contact with cold air. Solid foods can also be chilled directly by means of refrigerators such as liquid nitrogen and liquid carbon dioxide refrigerators. While cooling sugar, dried and warm crystals are aerated intensively by filtering cold external air to cool the sugar to a storage temperature of about 250C. Special coolers with chilling systems with counter current flow are used in sugar chilling. It is done to preserve food for a period beyond its normal spoilage span. Some food is chilled due to recipe mandate, thus providing the required texture and flavour. The process is mostly preferred for preservation of vegetables, meat and cooked food overnight. Although chilling preserves food from spoilage, it is not recommendable for all types of food. In addition, chilling of food for a long period of time makes them stiffer.
Freezing is a convenient and faster way of preserving foods. It is done by extending food storage duration by means of a freezer. During freezing, ice particles are turned into water vapour and removed through a vacuum. This results in dehydration of the food. The quality of frozen food depends on how it was prepared for freezing. Preparation is done during packaging and storage activities. Freezing preserves food by lowering its temperature to prevent the growth of microorganism. This food preservation method is effective in preservation of certain foods. For instance, meat is promptly frozen immediately after slaughtering at the temperature below -180C. Freezing of fruits is effectively done in syrup to prevent desiccation and oxidation. Commercialised freezing is conducted either in cold air or by placing the already packed food on a metal tray to a refrigerator. Frozen dry food have no water content; therefore, they are easy to transport (Cheng et al. 2014, p. 6).
Frozen dry foods are used by astronauts, backpackers, military and food manufactures. They can also be purchased for home use. Examples of frozen foods are fruit pieces in most cereals or ice cream for astronauts. Freezing is applicable for preservation of almost all foods. Frozen food retains its nutrient content. Freezing is a quick dehydration process that does not require a refrigerator. It is also a long preservation process. However, freezing is very expensive: it requires specialised equipment.
Evaluation of Effectiveness of Food Preservation Methods
Freezing, marination and chilling are good preservation methods. However, their affectivity differs. For instance, freezing is good because it is a long preservation process. However, it is not the best because it is expensive: it requires specialised equipment. Chilling is also not an effective food preservation method because it is not applicable to all types of food. In addition, if food is chilled for a long time, it loses moisture and becomes stiff. In comparison to freezing and chilling, marination is the most effective food preservation method: apart from being cheap, it is applicable to all types of food. Marination is also a life saver. For instance, marinating beer before cooking it reduces chemical levels that can cause cancer.
Temperature Control System
Temperature is one of the key controls of food safety. The appropriate use of chillers, freezers and heat prevents the growth of bacteria inducing food poisoning. There are four steps taken in an effective temperature control. The first step is establishment of the required temperatures. Preservation of food is done at various temperatures. For instance, fresh fish, meat, smoked meat and fish require the temperature range of between -10C and +10C, while milk and dairy products, pasteurised canned meat, baked goods, pizzas, prepared salads, unbaked dough and pastry are preserved at a temperature of 00C to +50C. The second step is development of a plan to be used in achieving the preferred temperatures. The third step is monitoring of the achieved temperature; and the last step is recording the achieved temperatures.
Food storage methods depend on the type of food. For instance, dry cereals are stored in cool dry stores, while sugar and salt crystals are preferably stored under the temperature of between 80C to 120C. In fridge storage, foods are kept to stop the growth of bacteria. This includes food which has the “use-by” dates, is ready to eat and the cooked food. Meat is also stored in refrigerators, and the temperature is maintained at 50C with the same intention of inhibiting the growth of bacteria. Freezing and defrosting, especially in a microwave, is a storage mechanism for food for a short period. On the other hand, long lasting food and other cooking ingredients, such as oil, fat, margarine and spices, are stored in a cool dry place, preferably in a cupboard. The cupboard should be kept under lock and key to prevent external food spoilage.
Personal hygiene contributes greatly to the food safety. Personal hygiene starts at home. An individual should have a clean body, cloths and hair. Presence of hair in food contributes greatly to the microbiological and physical contamination. Therefore, beard covers and hairnets should be worn to observe food safety integrity. In addition, uniforms, aprons and other outer garments of food handlers should be clean. While in a work environment, clothing should be kept in a good repair.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Cleaning is a process of making a place or object clean. It is done by removing dirt and dust particles. On the other hand, disinfection is the process of inhibiting microorganism from causing harm to a human. In the food industry, disinfection and cleaning are done concurrently to ensure maximum food safety. Disinfection is done by detergents such as alkaline.
Pests damages food and storage facilities. Their presence in the food processing industry is disadvantageous to the facility because they scare away customers. This has an immediate impact on the economy of the facility. Rodents, such as mice and rats, are extremely dangerous. For instance, rats carry fleas, ticks, mites, bacteria and viruses and dump them on the food substance. Specifically, urine of a rat contaminates food and eventually causes leptospirosis. Cockroaches also carry food poisoning organisms and animal droppings. They can easily spread diseases such as polio and dysentery. Birds and domestic pests carry bacteria such as salmonella; therefore, when they get into contact with food, they can lead to outbreaks of diseases. Although stored product insects, flies and wasps may not be seen as major causes of food poisoning; however, they contaminate food; therefore, they should be controlled as well. Controlling of pests is expensive. It may require a lot of money because elimination of rodents is not an easy process. It requires consistent application of pesticides and traps. At some point, pests damage a storage facility to the maximum. Unless a new facility is bought or created, food safety is at risk.
Hygienic Design and Construction of Food Premises
Premises and equipment used in preparing food should be in a better position of keeping food safe. They should also be easy to clean.
Construction of food premises should adhere to the following rules:
- Be prompt for activities of the premises use.
- Provide enough space for activities that are conducted on the food premises.
- Permit food premises to be cleaned effectively.
- Layers of food premises should allow food to move in one direction.
- In practice:
- Fumes, dust, dirt, smoke and any other contaminants should be kept off,
- Prevent entry of pests, and
- Prevent harbourages for pests.
Hygienic design and construction of food premises is needed for minimisation of the likelihood of food spoilage and contamination. This is made possible by preventing poisoning or contamination from unnecessary movements of persons and food within the premises.
Quality Assurance Mechanism
Quality assurance is the guarantee that the goods and services produced and provided by the organization meet the required quality. It is achieved by identifying the meaning of quality. In other words, methods and ways of ensuring quality are specified. Training is important because it improves the competence requirements of work life and provides quality assurance in vocational training and education. Quality assurance is also supported by making external assessment of education and development projects.
Food Hazard Risk Assessment
The catering manger conducts the hazard assessment. Five permanent staff members are employed to work on various shifts to prepare and serve food. A teenager helps on Saturdays to transport, load and unload dishes. Employment permit for the teenager was obtained from the local authority. One staff member has difficulty speaking English. The business runs from 7 am to 5.30 pm on a daily basis.
The manager is guided to control the risk in the business.
- Attempting to identify the hazards, the manager follows the guidance on HSE for hospitality and catering, and employment of young people. In so doing, he walks around the stockroom, kitchen and other areas, checks the premises and considers what might lead to risks. He uses HSE guideline for consideration. He compares notes with staff members. He emphasises the requirement for ensuring safety of the teenager. He checks the accident book to observe the cause of previous incidents.
- The manager notes who should be injured and how.
- The manager then writes the control measures to be taken for a hut incident.
- The manager puts actions ready for handling risk assessment as required. He shares the findings with staff. They are made part of the inductions for new staff. He makes the teenager aware of the risks.
- The manager reviews the risk assessment annually.
The risks are prevented by thinking about the causes of hazards and taking preventive measures.
Letter to the Manager
November, 11, 2015.
The General Manager,
Chief of Pizza Production,
Lake Side Restaurant,
P.O Box, 43 Amsterdam.
Ref: IMPROVEMENT OF FOOD SAFETY
Allow me to take this opportunity to thank you sincerely for your consistency in campaigning against food spoilage. Your sponsorship assisted in the purchase of modern food preservation equipment for the company. The main reason for writing this letter is to inform you on the measures that were taken to improve the food safety control system. First of all, the risks were reduced. In so doing, the principle of prevention across the food supply chain was employed. In addition, the business-to-table continuum, developed science-based safety strategies and establishment of integrated initiatives while targeting the risk were addressed (Plaza-Roriquez et al. 2015, pp.81-90). Food control has also been recognized to be a universal responsibility that requires an input of every stakeholder.
Food Safety Guide for Legislation Compliance
- Ensure personal hygiene by having clean body, cloths and hair.
- Put on beard covers and hairnets.
- Be responsible and ensure that food is safe for consumption.
- Ensure proper handling of food to avoid contamination. Do not remove, add or handle it in a way that makes it harmful.
- Be sure of the food quality.
- Label food properly to avoid misleading people.
- Advertise and market the right food. Do not confuse details.
- Keep records of food origin and ingredients.
- Unsafe food should be withdrawn immediately followed by completion of the incident report.
- Inform as to why the food was withdrawn.
- Display maximum food hygiene rating.
This report has identified agents of food spoilage such as bacteria, extreme temperatures, moisture, oxygen and extreme light. By describing these agents, the report has noted chilling, freezing and marination as some of the most effective food preservation methods. It goes further highlighting marination as the best preservation method: it is cheaper, a life saver and applicable to all types of food. The report proceeds by describing how personal hygiene, pest control and cleanliness contribute to the general safety of food. Hair is a dangerous food contaminator that should be covered during food handling. In addition, personal hygiene can be ensured by bathing and putting on clean clothes. General facility cleaning is also paramount. Cleaning and disinfection are done concurrently to ensure maximum food safety. Temperature control, storage and premises are also covered in this report. The report has noted that food premises allow a single directional flow of food. It should be free from pests such as rats and mice. These pests can scare away customers and lead to profit loss. They can also transmit diseases. Storage of food varies depending of the preferred temperature. As highlighted in this report, steps that need to be taken in temperature control system include identification, temperature achievement plan, monitoring the achieved temperature and finally recording it.
The report has also covered quality assurance and risk assessment. It has been noted that a teenager is employed to work on Saturdays, while the manager is responsible for risk assessment which he does on a yearly basis. The report ends by highlighting a letter written to the General Manager in which mechanisms of food safety control are addressed. Some of the addressed mechanisms are risks reduction and use of principle of prevention across the food supply chain. Addressing the business-to-table continuum is also noted as a food control mechanism. Finally, the report gives an elaborate food safety guide for legislation compliance. Some of the guidelines comprise maximum personal hygiene, proper handling of food, proper labelling and advertisements. The guidelines are supported by directive pictures that show how hair should be covered to prevent food contamination.