Proper sanitation is vital for all foodservice businesses. It ensures that proper hygiene is upheld to prevent the transfer of pathogens and bacteria from surfaces to food-handling equipment. During food handling, there is the risk of it getting contaminated. The main food contaminants are chemical contaminants, biological contaminants, and food contaminants.
Biological contamination is caused by microorganisms present around food handling surfaces. Chemical contamination is often caused by cleaning agents and pesticides. On the other hand, physical contamination is from clothes, hair, and dirt, which can also originate from the people handling food. To prevent the spread of illnesses, food testing should be undertaken and the following food sanitation practices upheld:
- Personal Hygiene for Food Handlers
Personal hygiene is a critical element of food sanitation. Note that bacteria that causes food contamination can be on anyone. Microorganisms can be transferred by food handlers when they touch their hair, skin, and other surfaces in the kitchen. Washing and drying hands thoroughly before handling food will go a long way in preventing contamination. Food handlers are also expected to wash their hands during work as they are likely to contact other surfaces during food preparation.
Wearing aprons and other protective clothing while handling food is also critical. Changing gloves frequently and covering wounds is also vital for personal hygiene. Sick staff members should also not be allowed to handle food to prevent contamination.
- Cleaning and Sanitization of Food Handling Equipment
Proper cleaning of food handling equipment is an essential food sanitation practice. Proper cleaning of food preparation equipment involves removing detachable parts and washing them in hot soapy water. The utensils should be rinsed with clean water and immersed in a sanitizing solution, after which they should be air-dried. This will prevent the cross-contamination of food, which occurs through surfaces such as utensils, chopping boards, and so on.
- Proper Food Storage
Proper storage of food is a critical part of food sanitation. Removal of out-of-date food and preserving food at the ideal temperatures will go a long way in preventing contamination. Storage areas should be clean and free from pest infestation. They are known to be carriers of contaminants. Food should be stored as per the guidelines provided for the manufacturer. For instance, canned or dried food should be kept away from liquids or wet surfaces.
Raw and ready-to-eat foods should also be separated. Remember that raw foods have bacteria, which is why most food is cooked in the first place. Raw foods such as meat should be stored in sealed containers to prevent dripping, which can contaminate the ready-to-eat food.
Food sanitation is critical as it can lead to serious health issues like kidney failure and cause death. The practices above go a long way in preventing the transfer and spread of bacteria in food. Bacteria is not visible with the naked eye; therefore, the best thing to do is practice proper food hygiene to prevent its spread.