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Shields Up To Fight Cross-Contamination!

Food and Beverages | Monday, September 07, 2020

The control measures for prevention of cross-contamination and cross-contact can be executed with basic level of hygiene maintenance and discipline in the hotel kitchens. The little effort can go an extra mile. 

FREMONT, CA: Although awareness about cross-contamination has its ups and downs, being acquainted with the ill-effects of contamination is necessary. And it is the last thing both the eatery and the customer wants, food that causes illness or worse. 

In the food industry, especially during manufacturing, the chances of cross-contamination are high. Bacteria and harmful microorganisms are unintentionally transferred from one place to another, in this case, from one food item to another. The cross-contamination can occur in three significant ways—food to food, equipment to food, and people to food—with one contaminated party in the transfer. 

Another significant spoilage method prevention is by avoiding is cross-contact. While bacteria are exchanged in the earlier practice, trace elements are mixed when in contact in this method of adulteration. Although the amount of cross-contact among food products are less, it might end, causing allergic reactions, the foreign element might also cause rot in the food product.

• The Commercial Kitchen’s Primordial Duty: 

The sworn duty of all commercial kitchens is to ensure the safety of customers’ food. According to the rules set by the government, compliance with all the food safety laws is a requisite to businesses. The responsibilities are outlined in detail to prevent an outbreak, and for contamination, the control rules as well. For the prevention of bacterial infection, enterprises need to follow a plan based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles. HACCP requests the businesses to detect, understand, and avoid, remove, or reduce any hazardous object, substance to food. It establishes the critical control points from all stages of the supply chain. Staff involved in all processes needs to be trained in hygiene practices through a formal program or informal training. In hotels, alerting customers in case of any potential allergens is necessary, and proper information needs to be given to the customer in case of any risks involved. 

• Fighting Cross-Contamination: 

For reducing the chances of contamination, restaurants can put up signs portraying the message of cleanliness to create awareness among customers. Among staff members, following all the hygiene codes like hand washing, wearing clean aprons, tying the hair back, not eating while cooking, ensuring preparation while maintaining cleanliness, and tending to cuts properly, should be monitored. 

The staff needs to know not to rinse the meat, as rinsing will only increase the risk of food poisoning. Not only will the meat is being subject to contamination, but the water splashing from the tap can also travel for more than 50 cm away from the source. The water splashes falling onto other food materials can spread the germs around. By utilizing separate utensils and equipment, food particles are not mixed, avoiding cross-contact. One of the popular methods of division is to have a color-coded system in the kitchen, assisting the employees in operating seamlessly. 

• Tackling Cross-Contact: 

By following the same practices as utilized for cross-contamination, cross-contact can be avoided. The vital factor to consider for setting up preventive measures is to be well educated about the various allergens that are present. The most common allergens are listed by FARE, and the list extends to a total of 170 items that have caused allergic reactions in the past. 

The critical key to remember is the difference between bacteria and proteins, as they are the foundation for understanding the contamination and infection properties. Although properly cooked food will remove the majority of the bacteria in contaminated foods, cooking cannot rid the trace elements from the food proteins. It needs to follow specific rules where the chance of cross-contact is nil, and if this is not followed, the information should be made aware to the customers. 

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