Food Safety Principles

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What are the five key principles of food hygiene?

The five key principles of food safety are:

  1. Contamination
  2. Separation
  3. Cooking
  4. Storage
  5. Safe water and raw materials

1. Contamination

Contamination is major principle of food hygiene. There are four types of food contamination:

  1. Cross-contamination. It is so important to avoid cross-contamination in your food preparation and cooking.  For example Raw poultry, , can cause campylobacter and salmonella food poisoning, cross contaminating that bacteria onto ready to eat foods could cause food poisoning.
  2. Biological contamination. This is contamination caused by other living organisms, such as bugs or people. This can cause any variety of bacteria on the food, which is not safe for human consumption.
  3. Physical contamination. This is contamination from physical items, such as hair, glass, jewellery or any other physical object with its own bacteria which could make food unhealthy. This is an easy contamination to be avoided, but it is essential to do so. It could be as simple as just taking off jewellery before working with food, tying your hair back and washing your hands thoroughly.
  4. Chemical contamination. This type of contamination cause illness and food poisoning. A lot of the time, chemical contamination is caused from pesticides which are still present in fruits and vegetables. Other causes of chemical contamination could include kitchen cleaning products, pest control products or food containers made of unsafe plastic.

2. Separation

A method to avoid contamination is food separation. This could involve keeping raw meat in leak proof packaging, ensuring the juices don’t spread to other food items.

3. Cooking

Cooking is a fundamental principle of food hygiene. It seems very obvious, but it’s more about how you cook, rather than remembering to cook that raw chicken. It is important to ensure you cook chicken and other food items with bacteria risks, thoroughly.

Once you’ve cooked the meat thoroughly, never return back to the same chopping board or plate that the original raw meat was on.

4. Storage

Food storage is very important. A lot of food items, once cooked must be stored in either a dry space, out of sunlight, or in a fridge with specific temperature requirements.

When storing these items in their correct environments, it’s also important to note how long we can store and eat these items until they are no longer safe to eat.

Another important aspect to note is about the location of storage. It’s best to make sure meat or any food items which could potentially leak and contaminate other food items, are kept at the bottom shelf to ensure cross-contamination does not occur.

5. Safe water and raw materials

It is important to use safe water and raw materials when preparing your food.

If you are in a country where the tap water is not filtered with any chemicals to ensure it is healthy, then it is best to only use filters or bottled water.

With raw materials, such as fruit and vegetables, it is best to wash these first before preparing them and cooking. Unwashed fruits and vegetables could contain Listeria, a bacteria which can cause food poisoning and other harmful diseases.

 

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