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Food Safety and its importance

By: Institutional Cleaning | September 29, 2022 | Reading time: 6 minutes

Why Food Safety?

Food is one of the basic necessity for us to survive. Food gives us energy to fight and win in our day to day battle field. Each day, 25,000 people, including more than 10,000 children, die from hunger and related causes. In order to promote a good health and sustaining life it is extremely important that each one of us should have the access to sufficient amount of safe and nutritious food.

Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances causes more than 200 diseases, and around the world 1 in 10 people fall ill after consuming contaminated food each year resulting in more than 400 thousand death and loss of 33 million healthy life years. Food safety, nutrition and food security are closely linked. There are serious effects, due to unsafe foods, like illness and malnutrition, specifically affecting infants, young children, elderly and the sick people.

What is food safety?

Everything that ensures that food is safe to consume and does not endanger the health of a consumer. Hazardous situations can occur anywhere in an operation, and these

Hazards can be

  • biological (i.e. harmful micro-organisms)
  • chemical (i.e. cleaning product residues)
  • physical (i.e. glass, metal, or plastic parts)

Our goal is to identify these hazards, ensure they are prevented, eliminated and reduced to safe levels , to minimize the risk of possibilities that these hazards actually affect somebody.

What causes the food borne illness?

Most food borne illnesses are caused by harmful bacteria that gets into food, and the microorganism itself makes you sick or it produces a toxin that makes you sick.

In general we always hear two words "Food Poisoning" which illustrates it all. When someone gets sick (i.e diarrhea, stomach pains, vomiting ) from eating contaminated food,  When we eventually become ill, we are only the secondary link in the poisoning chain - it is the food that first becomes infected, and make the person infected post consuming it. In a kitchen environment there are two types of problem bacteria ?Food Spoilage? and ?Food Poisoning bacteria.

Both can cause illness, however, the food spoilage types are much easier to detect as the food undergoes some form of physical change i.e. it begins to smell or turn a different color.

This can be a major problem for the caterer/FBO, as food thrown away affects costs, however, the physical changes in the food normally does prevent it from reaching the customer.

Unfortunately the Food Poisoning bacteria are often physically undetectable by smell or taste and really only manifest themselves when our system rejects the bacteria, typically through vomiting and /or diarrhea.

Food Poisoning bacteria are called PATHOGENS and in many cases it is the mere presence of these

pathogens in our body that makes us ill, however we are also susceptible to the waste products produce by these bacteria during growth.

These poisons are called TOXINS and cause fatalities in the very young, the very old and the sick.

Examples of pathogenic bacteria are: E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria and Staphylococci, all of which are found in raw meat and poultry.

Food Safety Culture and its evolution

As the standards of our living improves, as consumers we demand quality and safe products. In order to meet the increasing demand the food safety is looked up very seriously in all organizations, which gave birth to many more food standards like ISO 22000, FSSC, BRC, SQF, IFS, etc. Food safety culture is how an organization values their food safety by training and empowering their employees in the interest of food safety. The vision and mission of food safety, an important commitment is aligned with the management and employees to demonstrate a food safety culture by making food safe at any point of time. Every year all the documents and procedures of the food safety management system undergoes a review for a continual improvement process. Some organizations apart from the mandatory regular check, they develop their own food safety audits and have a thorough health checkup (food safety) in their organization. Food safety audits become an essential element or even a mandate of doing food business. Most of the organization look upon the governing bodies to lay down the proper procedures.

What is a food safety mindset?

Improving food safety and managing the risks that come with the production of food should be top of mind for all food producers. Yet this can only be done when a true food safety culture is embedded in the organization and where food safety is not seen as a cost, but as the cornerstone of a company.

What is HACCP?

HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. It is an internationally recognized way of managing food safety, based on identifying all possible hazards and putting in place procedures to prevent and control these hazards. Keeping records is important to show and check that the procedures are working.

In small food service and retail businesses where food handling follows established good hygiene practices and culinary processes, the use of Industry Guides or national Codes of Good Practice are helpful in applying HACCP principles and achieving compliance.

Documents and records should be maintained to show that food safety practices are being applied effectively. As a general rule, the need for HACCP record keeping is related to what is essential with regard to food safety, e.g. documents on regular checks, temperature measurements and analyses carried out. Generic HACCP or good practice guides indicate where there is a need for record keeping, but you should also check regulations for local requirements. Always keep training records to show staff have been trained properly, and keep a list of suppliers and copies of order/delivery forms to meet traceability requirement.

Once you have confirmed your hygiene and food safety practices, you should regularly check and prove that they are being followed and that everything is working properly. If not, then take appropriate action to correct the situation and make sure all food is still safe to eat.

What is One Nation and One Food Law?

In India, FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) was established in 2006 under the Ministry of Health and it is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulations and supervision of food safety. FSSAI is expected to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for the citizen of India. Therefore, FSSAI has embarked on a large-scale effort to transform the country's food system in order to ensure safe, nutritious, healthy and sustainable food for all its citizens through the ?Eat Right India? movement. The Eat Right India movement is an initiative to transform the country's food system in order to ensure safe, healthy and sustainable food for all Indians. Eat Right India?, is built on three broad pillars of ?Eat Healthy?, ?Eat Safe? and ?Eat Sustainably?.

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