| A small number of factors related to food handling are responsible for a large proportion of foodborne disease episodes everywhere. Common errors include preparation of food several hours prior to consumption, combined with its storage at temperatures which favor the growth of pathogenic bacteria and/or formation of toxins; |
insufficient cooking or reheating of food to reduce or eliminate pathogens;
and people with poor personal hygiene handling the food.
Rules respond to these errors, offering advice that can reduce the risk that foodborne pathogens will be able to contaminate, to survive or to multiply. Food Handlers are therefore encouraged to adopt these rules to improve hygienic conditions and user’s health.
|1. Choose foods processed for safety Always buy pasteurized and processed food. When shopping, keep in mind that food processing was invented to improve safety as well as to prolong shelf-life. Certain foods eaten raw, such as lettuce, need thorough washing.|
|2. Cook food thoroughly Many raw foods, most notable poultry, meats, eggs and unpasteurized milk, may be contaminated with disease-causing organisms. Thorough cooking will kill the pathogens but remember that the temperature of all parts of the food must reach at least 70 °C. Frozen meat, fish, and poultry must be thoroughly thawed before cooking.|
|3. Eat cooked foods immediately When cooked foods cool to room temperature, microbes begin to proliferate. The longer the wait, the greater the risk. To be on the safe side, eat cooked foods just as soon as they come off the heat.|
|4. Store cooked foods carefully If you must prepare foods in advance or want to keep leftovers, be sure to store them under either hot (near or above 60 °C) or cool (near or below 10 °C) conditions. A common error, responsible for countless cases of foodborne disease, is putting too large a quantity of warm food in the refrigerator as cooked foods cannot cool to the core as quickly as they must.|
|5. Reheat cooked foods thoroughly This is best protection against microbes that may have developed during storage (proper storage slows down microbial growth but does not kill the organisms). Once again, thorough reheating means that all parts of the food must reach at least 70 °C.|
|6. Avoid contact between raw foods and cooked foods Safely cooked food can become contaminated through even the slightest contact with raw food. This cross-contamination can be direct, as when raw poultry meat comes into contact with cooked foods. It can also be more subtle.|
|7. Wash hands repeatedly Wash hands thoroughly before you start preparing food and after every interruption – especially if you have been to the toilet. After preparing raw foods such as fish, meat, or poultry, wash again before you start handling other foods.|
|8. Keep all kitchen surfaces meticulously clean Any surface used for food preparation must be kept absolutely clean. Cloths that come into contact with dishes and utensils should be changed frequently and boiled before re-use. Separate clothes for cleaning the floors also require frequent washing.|
|9. Protect foods from insects, rodents, and other animal Animals frequently carry pathogenic microorganisms that cause foodborne disease. Storing foods in closed containers is your best protection.|
|10. Use safe water Safe water is just as important for food preparation as for drinking. If you have any doubts about the water supply, boil water before adding it to food or making ice for drinks.|