Food hygiene is the part of the umbrella term food safety. Food safety is the set of practices that should be implemented by a food business to ensure their food to be safe for consumption.
Food hygiene is an important aspect of handling the process of preparation, cooking and storage of food.
The factors that must be taken into account while handling commercially prepared food include personal hygiene of the staff involved in cooking, prevention against cross-contamination, safe storage of the food that preserves it against going bad and controlling the temperature of the cooking process.
After this brief introduction, we will move forward to answer the following questions regarding food hygiene:
- What are the basic food hygiene guidelines?
- What are the types of food hazards?
- What is cross contamination?
- What the types are of cross contamination?
What are the basic food hygiene guidelines?
Food hygiene applies to each step of food preparation from preparation of the food till the storage of the food. For the preparation step:
- Wash hands before starting.
- Handle raw and cooked ingredients separately
- Tie back hair under a cap
- Sneeze or cough at a distance from the cooking station.
For the cooking step:
- Use clean utensils for cooking
- Use separate chopping boards for vegetables and meat.
- Clean the work station while working
For the storage:
- Keep hot food at the temperature of 63 degrees and cold food under 5 degrees
- Store raw and cooked food in separate clean containers with lids on.
What are the types of food hazards?
Food hazards can be of four types:
- Biological- As the air is laden with microorganisms, these biological creatures can be a threat against food safety and hygiene.
- Chemical- Chemical hazards against food hygiene include any chemical that is added intentionally or unintentionally to the food such as preservatives that are harmful or pesticides that are used at the time of the production of raw material.
- Physical- Physical hazard characterizes the presence of any foreign object in the food such as a stem or shoot in case of fruits and vegetable or a foreign object such as plastic, nail, hair etc in the cooked food. Naturally occurring physical hazards are less harmful as compared to the artificial hazards.
- Allergenic- Allergenic hazards are those proteins present in food that can cause an adverse reaction in some people. To minimize this type of hazard, a proper food labeling should be practiced.
What is cross contamination?
In the terms of food hygiene, cross contamination refers to transfer of harmful bacteria due to improper food hygiene practices.
What the types are of cross contamination?
There are three basic types of cross contamination of food:
- Food-to-food: Mishandling of raw and cooked food can cause cross contamination.
- Equipment-to-food: Dirty utensils, chopping boards or knives can be a source of cross contamination of food.
- People-to-food: People who do not practice personal hygiene while cooking such as washing hands or wearing kitchen gloves or tying hair while cooking can cause cross contamination of food.