Hello everyone and welcome again to our Blog! In this post we will talk about a very important and often neglected topic, best practices in food handling. One of the most common health problems in our society is the emergence of foodborne diseases. These can already exist or be generated from the manufacturing of the food to its commercialisation, so we have to be aware of the necessity to comply with the strict requirements established for the correct manufacture and handling of the food.
What are the risks of poor food handling?
As we have just mentioned, the contamination risks to which food is exposed happen throughout the whole food chain. It is therefore essential to take extreme precautions when working with foodstuffs in order to avoid the hazards caused by poor food handling. These hazards include the following.
Meaning any foreign body that is present in a food and that comes from contamination during processing operations or from external contamination. Some of the causes that trigger these hazards are:
- Carelessness in the process resulting in leftover packaging material, plastics, glass, metal splinters, other foreign bodies…
- Bad practices by the handlers due to the presence of rings or other accessories, band-aids, etc.
- Contamination of the raw material with pieces of plant material, bones, shells, etc.
- Other causes of contamination
They are associated with wastes of products used in the manufacturing, processing, transport and/or storage of food. These include disinfectants, pesticides, or heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury or tin.
Meaning all contaminations that cause food poisoning, including the presence of microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts, fungi, parasites and viruses that come from the air, water and soil. Bacteria and viruses are the most dangerous for food safety, causing diseases such as listeriosis, salmonellosis, or gastroenteritis caused by norovirus. To avoid all these dangers, at Amerex we have developed and implemented our FSSC 22000 system and we follow very strict process management protocols to control these risks in each and every one of our manufacturing stages.
Is it necessary to take hygienic measures in food handling?
We have already discussed the hazards, it is now time to assess the causes. Almost all of them are due to poor handling practices, so for the food sector, a strict training and awareness of good hygiene practices is essential. That hygiene rules must be followed to avoid any type of contamination in the manufacturing of food. These rules include both the hygiene practices of the employees who will be in contact with food and the way food is handled.
Hygiene measures for food handlers
When handling food it is necessary to pay attention to clothing and accessories. It is important to wear specific clothing and footwear and to wear mask and hats to prevent hair loss when in contact with food. In addition, jewellery or other personal items should not be worn meanwhile perfumes, shaving lotions and other items with specific odours that can cause food to undergo physical and chemical alterations should be avoided.
Food handlers should thoroughly wash their hands, arms, forearms and fingernails at the beginning and end of the day. They should also repeat this process when starting over work after a break or when changing tasks. After sneezing, blowing their nose, going to the toilet and touching other devices or materials it is important to wash hands. In addition, extreme caution should be exercised in all these measures in the event of exposure to raw food.
Cuts and abrasions on the skin should be covered with a bandage tinted with a metal strip of a different colour than the product being treated and additional single-use gloves should be worn if these injuries take place on hands.
Hygiene rules should also be taken into account to avoid transfer of pathogens from the mouth and nostrils to food. Avoiding coughing or sneezing in the direction of handled products, using disposable tissues and not eating, drinking, smoking or chewing gum throughout food manufacturing are essential measures to avoid contamination.
What precautions should we take when handling food?
When handling food there are a number of hygienic recommendations that should also be taken into consideration:
- Do not handle dirty food or food picked up from the floor.
- Avoid the use of wooden utensils
- Use single-use hand paper
- Do not place food or trays on the floor
- Defrost food in an optimal way and never refreeze a defrosted product
- Do not use sawdust or cardboard on the floor
- Use different utensils for raw and cooked food
- Never bring raw food in contact with food that has already been cooked or is being consumed fresh.
- Use a food thermometer to check the optimum cooking temperature of food.
To avoid food poisoning, it is essential to take into consideration all the advice given in this Blog post and making the best practices in food handling an essential routine, even in our own homes.
How can the care for best practices in food handling be improved?
We have mentioned before our commitment to food safety and food security. At Amerex, in addition to maintaining our FSSC 22000 standard to guarantee the manufacturing of safe and harmless food, our entire company is informed of our food safety policy and best practices in food handling. We even remind people of this protocols through annual safety awareness days. We also have a specialised safety team always aware of any hazards that compromise the safety of the final product.
Do you still have any doubts about the care and attention we take in best practices? Contact us and we will answer any questions you may have.
Phone number: +34 91 845 42 14