Hospitality Management and Tourism
Food spoilage makes food unhealthy, hence not recommendable for consumption. Some of the argents that cause food spoilage are bacteria, mould, and yeast categorised under micro-organisms. Moisture and temperature are grouped under environmental factors while insects and rodents are categorised under eternal factors. Internal factors such as enzymes also lead to food spoilage. It is advisable to appropriately preserve food to ensure food security. Some of the ways of doing that are freezing, marinating, and chilling. In the same line of preservation, the temperature should be regulated in all steps of processing i. e. reheating, preparation, serving, delivery and cooking to ensure that all temperatures are safe enough to avoid food spoilage. Personal hygiene and cost of pest control are also important in determining food safety. Food handlers must be clean enough to prevent the spread of food-borne diseases. Another way of guaranteeing food safety is through training. Training equips employees with tactics of ensuring food safety at all stages of preparation. It is, therefore, the assurance of quality production. However, food guideline should also be established to govern employees accordingly. This must also be accompanied by risk assessment to minimise risks of injuries and food wastage within a premise. Following the guideline on how to ensure food safety in relation to hygienic legislation requirements, food will ever be readily available for safe consumption. This paper aims at discussing the categories of food spoilage argents, methods of storing and preserving food, and guidelines that can help in ensuring food safety.
Food Spoilage Agents
Food is a fundamental resource in human life; hence, it should be available in abundant and safe condition. However, there are some factors that lead to food spoilage making it improper for human consumption. Food spoilage is the condition in which food becomes bad or unhealthy to human consumption (Rawat 2015). This unhealthy condition may be as a result of deterioration in all or either one of the food components such as texture, flavour, and nutrients. Factors that lead to food spoilage are called food spoilage agents. The agents are also grouped into various categories, namely micro-organisms, environmental, internal and external factors. To begin with, micro-organism category constitutes of various microscopic i.e. moulds, bacteria, fungi, and yeast. These factors play a significant role in the food spoilage. The second category is environmental factors comprising of moisture and temperature. Foods with high moisture content, basically due to low temperature, facilitate the growth of micro-organism factors that eventually spoil the food. Generally, this category works hand in hand with other factors outside the group to spoil food. The third category is made up of internal factors i.e. enzymes. Here, a key spoilage factor is the enzyme of contaminating yeast. The last category is the external factors majorly consisting of animals. Under this category, we have pest and insects. Insects such as weevils, fruit-fly, and moths cause both direct and indirect food spoilage. Directly, they render food substances such as grain and pulses, making them unfit for consumption. Indirectly, insects help in the determination of micro-organisms including bacteria and harmful germs.
Methods of Food Preservation
Food preservation methods are mechanisms used to make food safe and longer suitable for consumption. These methods are smoking, canning, pickling, freezing, and marinating. For instance, freezing is a common food preservative method used for both commercial and domestic preservation of food. As a food preservative process, freezing entails lowering the internal and external temperature of food to inhibit the growth of food spoilage agents such as bacteria. Examples of food that can be preserved through freezing are sodas, fruit, milk, vegetables, and ice-cream for astronauts. As far as the effectiveness of freezing is concerned, all harmful bacteria cannot live at a temperature bellow 40 ?C (Prakash 2016). This temperature is easy to achieve through freezing. Therefore, freezing is considered one of the most effective methods of preserving food. In general, freezing provides extension of shelf live; it not only ensures safe storage of food but also eliminates anger by reducing food wastage. In fact, freezing is an effective method of eliminating bacteria and related microbial infection.
Marinating is the process of soaking food in seasoned acidic liquid with an intention of preserving it. This method entails the use of brine through the process called pickling which usually leads to flavour addition by immersion. Marinating is preferred to preserve raw meat and drinks over other modes of preservation (Anderson 2016). It is an effective way of food preservation because of the numerous advantages it has in comparison with other food preservative measures. Marinating has no side effects on the foods flavour, it prides a wide range of ingredient selections being the simplest method of food preservation. The third widely used method is chilling, which is an immediate preservative method of storing harvested fresh food products, i.e. fish and white meat, under low temperature. Generally, chilling provides unfavourable temperature condition for the growth of micro-organisms hence being an effective method of keeping food safe from bacteria (Industrial Gases 2016).
Effectiveness of Food Preservation Methods
While selecting a method of preserving particular food, it is important to consider whether the method selected is effective or not. For instance, marinating food is an efficient food preservative technique used to store the variety of food products including meat, fish, and beef. It can also be used to preserve ingredients, i.e. for preparing alcoholic drinks. Besides, it is the cheapest food preservation method. While most of the resources used in marinating are readily available, others such as a glass container can be purchased at a low price. Marinating also saves life by reducing chances of developing cancer especially among people who drink wines and spirits.
As mentioned earlier, freezing and chilling are the most effective methods recommended for preserving fresh fruits, vegetables, and animal products such as milk, meat, and fish. Chilling can be used for a big variety of products but require specialised equipment that can make this method more expensive than marinating. This method is effective for products that should be used fresh and those that can lose vitamins or other useful elements when they are frozen. Freezing can keep products in the condition that is close to natural; however, for vegetables with high moisture content, it is not effective. It ruins cellulose in them; so, their state will not be the same as it was before, and it is not possible to use them for the same dishes as if they are fresh. Canning is another method that is using low temperature to preserve food. This technique should be carefully followed because any damage of food container makes food products not safe to eat. All methods that use low temperatures are not effective when viruses or pathogenic bacteria are not destroyed.
Smoking is usually used for meat and fish. This preservation method dries the surface of food but is not effective unless it is used in combination with salting or drying. Pickling helps to save food through fermentation. Pickling agents are chosen depending on type of food; the time for effective pickling is different. This method is the most effective for such products as eggs, cucumbers, peppers, and herring.
Key Steps of a Temperature Control System
Temperature control is vital in food preservation because microorganisms are a threat found within most food premises. These microorganisms multiply at a faster rate at room temperature. Since bacteria are not visible directly, it is important to control them through temperature regulation. Temperature control is carried out through steps which are taken at various stages. These steps are delivery, storage, preparation, defrosting, cooking, cooling, reheating, and service.
Under delivery, food is transported at a certain temperature. For example, chilled food is delivered at a temperature of maximum 5?C while frozen food is transported at a temperature 18?C and bellow.
Food staffs are also stored at a specified temperature. Just like in delivery, chilled food is stored at 5?C or a lowered temperature. Likewise, frozen food is specified to be stored at a temperature of bellow -18?C.
It is advisable to keep ready-to-eat meals within the regulator or refrigerator or chill. Generally, food that awaits usage should be kept within a cool temperature. This one includes even foods that wait cooking.
The preferred temperature of cooking poultry, meat, stew, and other related types of food should be kept at 75?C. This temperature also applies to beef. However, the external surface should be kept at a higher temperature to kill bacteria completely.
Immediately after cooking, it is advisable to cool hot food as soon as possible and then store it in a refrigerator.
While reheating food, the temperature should be kept at 82?C and above. Reheating finished dish should be done only once, with an average time temperature range of 2 minutes for 72?C.
As indicated under delivery, chilled food should be served at 5?C or bellow. For hot foods, 63?C is the required temperature while the ones delivered hot should have a temperature of above 63?C.
Methods of the Safe Food Storage
Food can be stored in a number of ways. One of the ways is the use of fridge. Fridge helps keeping food safe by preventing the growth of bacteria. Foods that can be stored safely in refrigerators are use-by date, perishable foods, ready to eat, and cooked food. The next methods are storage where dry grain and serials are kept away from pests and moisture that may facilitate rotting. Dry goods can never be stored at places with high humidity. Other food is also kept in draws and shelves to prevent food spoilage agents such as pest and insects. Any kind of raw meat should be stored in containers on bottom shelves to avoid bacteria spread to other products.
FIFO (First In, First Out) is used to organise food in such a way that older products will be used faster than newer one. To use this method effectively, workers should organise the same food products in one place, check their expiration date, and put those that are going to expire sooner than others in front. It helps to avoid unnecessary waste of products that can be spoiled if they are not used fast. Food can also be kept in clean containers under preservative liquids.
Shelves where food products are kept must be well-organised, made from good quality materials, and always clean. Employees should know the places of products and where to keep them. Each type of food must be on shelf with the most appropriate condition to stay fresh and good enough to be used. Labels help to track food and check expiration dates.
The Importance of Personal Hygiene in the Control of Food Contamination
Personal hygiene entails bathing twice a day, wearing clean attires, and having kempt hair. It contributes to ensuring food safety by appropriate handling of food. According to food safety regulation and legislation, every food handler should exercise maximum personal cleanliness to reduce chances of food contamination. Workers are responsible for following personal hygiene rules when working with products to provide food that will not have negative influence on the health of consumers. Basic principles of personal hygiene are also part of safe food storage. Understanding of them can help to avoid some malignant bacteria from hair, skin or clothes of employees getting to food products. Workers should be dressed according to the personal hygiene legislative act putting on clean white garments, gloves, hair and beard nets. Before the beginning of work and any change of work area, employees who store food must wash their hands carefully to minimize the amount of bacteria and possible viruses on their hands. If hands are not washed properly, they can cause food poisoning and other health problems. Hands should be dried to avoid moisture that can contain pathogens that could be transferred to food. Apart from washing hands with soap and plenty of water, gloves should also be used in handling food to prevent the penetration of infectious agents (Johnson 2016). Uniform should be clean and cover all parts of body from which hair can accidentally fall. When hair gets into contact with food, it leads to the microbial and physical contamination making food unsuited for consumption. Long sleeves and beard covers can help to minimize this risk. Going outside their workplace, workers should always take off their uniform. Smoking or any other type of activity is forbidden in wardrobe because it can spread pathogens and bacteria. All personal items including jewellery must be left in lockers but not in work area because they can carry bacteria that can easily contaminate food. Exception can be made for wedding rings and small earrings in each ear that cannot fall in food. Jewelleries that can be dropped in food can be swallowed and then cause suffocation or damage internal parts of body. People who have any kind of communicable disease should not be allowed to work with products till complete recovery. Even if a worker thinks that he is healthy and does not have any symptoms, he can be a possible carrier of infection. Therefore, following personal hygiene can help to minimize the risk of infecting buyers. Working with food products, employees should not cough or sneeze without control. Harmful bacteria that can accidentally fall in food have a high possibility to cause health problems or infection of people who will eat this food. Generally, personal hygiene contributes greatly to ensuring food safety.
Cleaning and Disinfection as Process Supporting Safe Food Production
Cleaning activities remove dust, dirt, and germs from the food handling surfaces. Cleaning makes the food handling environment clean and free from visible dirt or food spoilage factors. The activities entail using excess water and detergents to kill some of the food spoilage argents such as germs. During cleaning, the terms of Control of Substances Harmful to Health (COSHH) regulations have to be adhered to. Chemicals must be stored properly after the use to prevent them from getting into food and causing further contamination. To sum up, the main role of cleaning is to remove substances such as pathogens that may spoil food. Therefore, cleaning is important because it improves food safety. Disinfection kills germs on a surface through the use of chemicals. This activity is usually done after cleaning, and it helps to reduce a risk of infection. Compared to cleaning, disinfection can remove all invisible pathogens with antimicrobial agents that destroy microorganisms.
The Problems Associated with Pest Control in Food Premises
The legislation clearly states that enough procedures should be established within a premise to ensure that pests are controlled effectively (Sandwell 2015). The existence of pests in a stressful situation may lead to the downfall of the premise. There are various types of pests in a food establishment. Some of them are rodents i.e. rats, mice, and squirrels. The next type comprises of insects such as flies. Irrespective of the type, pests make no good in a food premise. They lead to additional costs when the contaminated food is thrown instead of being utilized (Swoyer 2012). They also scare clients away. For example, when a customer happens to see pests such as rats in a food premise, he or she will relate the observation with dirt, hence considering the premise too dirty to make a good eating or food storage environment. Therefore, the client will not come back to the premise any more. For this reason, most food processing industries tend to control pests through the use of chemicals. However, this pest control is also accompanied by problems. One of the problems is improper use of chemicals hence, resulting into food spoilage. The next problem is the awful smell produced by the dead pest.
The Need for Hygienic Design
System approaches to designing premises dictate that the premise surface should have enough space to make cleaning process easier. It is essential to follow rules at all stages of food production process. All parts of production should be easy to clean and keep food safe from any kind of infection. In case of food spoilage, it should be possible to minimize the products still suitable to be used to get out of their order. Equipment that is used for food production should follow standards of food industry. It should be easy to sanitize and disinfect if it is necessary and maintained following all rules of the proper exploitation. All surfaces should be divided into food contact and non-food product contact surfaces. Food contact surfaces must meet specific hygienic design and fabrication requirements. They should be corrosion resistant and accessible for cleaning. Materials for food contact surfaces must always be non-toxic and non-absorbent to avoid food poisoning. In hygiene design, it is important to ensure all types of barrier control i.e. fencing the premise, closing the factory doors and windows during off hours, and restriction on accessibility by animals that can bring dirt into the premise. These barrier control concepts are important because they prevent external argents from spoiling and contaminating food. Having them, you can prevent bacteria from getting in food products or spoiling food that can be caused by moulds. Moulds produce toxins that can easily lead to food poisoning and can be easily spread on all other products and make them unsuitable for further usage. They can cause allergic reaction and respiratory problems for consumers. Fence can help to divide workplace in parts, so as to separate different cycles of food production. It also can create different zones where wardrobe should be worn and where it should be taken off. Separate room with a locker for personal items should be created to avoid food contamination with bacteria that can be located on them. Shelves should be designed according to the general principle of food storage to make it safe and comfortable for employees to use them. The legislation requirements in relation to cleaning process dictate that enough operation space should be provided within the premise to make cleaning activities easier. Furthermore, the construction should formulate a one-direction movement of food. Light at workplace should be hygienically designed and help to detect dirt easily. Ventilation system helps to remove dust, heat vapour, and aerosols. It should transport them outside the building. Floor in rooms where food is stored should never have places where water can be accumulated.
Importance of Training as a Quality Assurance Mechanism
Quality assurance is a companys guarantee of delivering high-quality services to its clients. Regular training of employees is important because it improves the skills needed in food production. Training is organised by a company for certain period of time when it needs some improvement. Therefore, it enhances the quality of products rendered. Training of employees can help to raise their productivity and competence. They will develop their skills, and a good training program can help to understand weak sides of workers and teach them so they will never make previous mistakes in future. That can greatly enhance the quality of products. Employees can learn some new techniques that will help them do better products. Also, they have a possibility to understand if they were doing something wrong before and reconsider new laws or regulations connected with food safety. Currently, customers have attained awareness of the significance of safe and high quality food. This safety and high quality level can only be provided through training of employees and staff members on how to work jointly in ensuring that the goods produced meet the required standard. Therefore, training equips employees with skills necessary for high quality food production.
It is a well-furnished food processing premise with a slippery floor at the kitchen entrance. The rest of the floor is covered with a wall-to-wall thick carpet. The enterprise is composed of 6 staff members who work jointly to prepare, cook, and serve meals. An underage comes during the weekends to assist in serving customers. The employment permit of the young boy was obtained from the area local authority. Operating for ten hours a day, the premise opens at 7.00 a.m. daily.
1. The first risk in the food-processing premise is obviously the slippery floor at the entrance to the compound. It is a high-trafficked area everybody is going in and out of the kitchen many times a day. The fact that food service is often very quick-paced and high-stress job adds to the complexity of the situation. The employees may fall behind on their work and customer service, which means they will try to do everything in time by running to and from the kitchen. This means that every time a person goes to serve food to a customer or to do anything else, there is a risk they may slip and fall. This is obviously a very high risk for the employees in this food processing facility.
2. There is a risk connected with the underage boy. Of course, he may be a very skilled worker but a kitchen is a dangerous place to be there. There are hot liquids and cooking materials such as oil and water that can be spilled or can splatter around. The equipment is also inherently dangerous for a young person hot pans and pots, ovens, grills, etc. can all cause very painful burns. Young people tend to be less cautious of these things, so it is a risk to have the young boy running in and out of the kitchen.
3. Finally, there is a risk that there may be problems with the local authorities in regards to the young boy. As it is said in #2, he is likely to get injured more simply because of his age and inexperience. If he is to complain to the local authorities about working conditions or if he is injured, there can be problems with the government for the company. Disputes with local authorities can be expensive and time-intensive endeavors will hurt the company in the long term.
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1. The bad slippery floor in entrance to the kitchen may result in potential accidents .
2. In addition, the fast-paced nature of food service means that you are more likely to rush to finish work, so it is very important to move in a methodical, sure-footed manner.
3. When entering and exiting the kitchen, please take caution to watch your footing. This means that you should go in a slow and self-assured manner. It is not worth the risk if you slip and fall, the food will be even slower to the customer. It is better to be a few seconds later but be safe than to rush and risk being hurt.
4. It is recommended wearing proper shoes to work that have a good grip. There are special non-slip shoes available, which will be a good control measure to ensure safety of employees.
5. If financially viable, the entire floor should be covered with a carpet like the rest of the kitchen. This way, the entrance to the kitchen will be much safer. If this is not feasible from a financial side, then perhaps a large carpet rug could suffice as a temporary replacement. This would cover up the slippery floor in the entrance and would look like the rest of the kitchen floor.
Letter Addressed to the General Manager
Leader of Tender Execution,
Feb 23, 2016
The General Manager,
Washington DC Manufacturing and Food Processing Company,
P.O Box, 43 Washington.
Ref: IMPROVEMENT OF THE FOOD SAFETY CONTROL SYSTEM
May I take this brilliant opportunity to appreciate your good leadership. Your effort has moved the company to the next level. In fact, it has contributed to greater achievements, amongst them being the current tender of supplying and serving food to 1200 people in 3 hospitals for a whole week. Even though operating over 50 Km is a challenge, it will prepare us to every form of operational situations hence enhancing the development of services within the firm. The main reason for writing this later is to present you the measures that I took to improve food safety system in the premise. The first measure was the improvement in using labels that our employees did not do before because they were not understanding how to do that. However, after the installation of new shelves for products, it became much easier to organize workplace. Thus, now employees can use FIFO method and the same time control positions of product on a shelve. In the next few months, we want to held a training about personal hygiene that can help our workers to understand more why it so important to follow the rules. Previously, we had few complaints about our workers that were seen smoking in their wardrobe when working at hospitals, but the new system of fines solved this problem. To sum up, the above mentioned measures are suitable to enhance a food safety control system.
Food Safety Guideline for the Legislation Compliance
1. High levels of personal hygiene should be ensured. Personal hygiene means regular bathing and wearing clean clothes, preferably recommendable food handling garments as shown below.
2. Food should be handled properly to prevent the spread of food-borne illnesses. According to the Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs, food should be handled with gloves to prevent contamination and spread of food-born diseases.
3. Food Labelling Regulations 1996 mandates that food should be labelled accordingly to avoid confusion. You should do that correctly as improper labelling may mislead consumers.
4. Food handlers should also prevent hair from getting into contact with food by putting on beard covers and hairnets as indicated bellow.
5. The working surface should be always neat and clean. This can be achieved only through responsibility.
6. Whenever a food is added or removed, it should be recorded properly.
7. Withdrawal of expired food should be done as soon as possible to prevent further contaminations. This should be followed by incident report, where people are informed on the reasons that led to food spoilage and eventually disposal.
8. Raw food should be cleaned with plenty of fresh water as shown bellow.
This paper has discussed food spoilage in depth highlighting categories of spoilage agents, namely micro-organisms, environmental, internal and external factors. As indicated, food spoilage is a condition in which food deteriorates in terms of flavour and content, making it inappropriate for consumption. There are many factors that the paper has related with food spoilage. Some of the argents are bacteria, mould, and yeast. Safe food preservation ensures that food is safe for consumption. Some of the food preservative ways as indicated by the report are freezing, marinating, and chilling. Temperature regulation is equally important; it ensures that the food remains in preferred temperature all the time hence preventing spoilage by environmental factors. The paper has also highlighted storage methods such as the use of fridge, stores, and drawers, and cupboards. Personal hygiene and problems associated with pest control are also discussed in this paper. As it was noted, it is important to exercise personal hygiene especially among food handlers since it helps in the prevention of the spread of food-borne diseases. During cleaning, detergents and chemicals are used to eradicate germs. These chemicals should be properly kept to prevent them from mixing with food as they can cause further spoilage. The report has also brought to light training as one of the ways of ensuring quality within a premise. Training equips employees with skills, hence enhances quality. The report ends by discussing food guideline measure and risk assessment. Food guideline should be always followed as it is an important reference tool in ensuring food safety. It must also be accompanied by risk assessment culture to minimise the risks of injuries and food wastage within a premise.
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