The four principles of good food hygiene

In the area of ​​food safety and the correct handling of food, there are four recognized principles according to which the food industry regulates its handling of all food hygiene issues.

Together, these principles cover all critical areas where food becomes contaminated.

By adhering to these principles, we minimize the hygiene risks when handling food and the resulting contamination of food.

The four golden rules of food hygiene are:

Buy groceries from a safe source.

Prevent bacteria from getting into your food.

Prevent bacteria from multiplying (or developing) in your food.

Destroys bacteria on food, utensils and work surfaces

Rule #1)

Buy groceries from a safe source.

Make sure you buy groceries only from well-known and reputable suppliers. It is important to check that all groceries are within their sell-by date and that they are stored in the store under appropriate conditions.

Serving counters should be kept spotlessly clean, as should machines such as meat grinders, knives and slicers.

Freezers, refrigerators and refrigerators should display their temperatures and be set to less than 5 degrees Celsius for chilled products and -18 degrees Celsius or less for frozen products.

All packaging should be original and not tampered with or counterfeit. This would indicate that the product is not the original content and is made by a fraudulent company. In no case do not buy these products, as they are dangerous to your health.

All reputable retail establishments selling groceries should provide current licenses from all necessary regulatory bodies as required by law. Check with your local authority to see what licenses a grocery store or supermarket needs to be open in your area.

Rule #2)

Prevent bacteria from getting into your food

Okay! At this pace you will learn about bacteria and how they multiply.

All bacteria start to multiply when given the right conditions. The conditions they need are

a) a temperature above 10 degrees Celsius (some say 5 degrees).

b) A food source. Bacteria break down all organic matter into sugars and use the basic foodstuff, the monosaccharide glucose, for their metabolism.

Bacteria only need 20 minutes to get used to a new food source. Suppose a bacterium was on a sugary food and suddenly found itself on fish, it would take the bacterium twenty minutes to digest the new food source.

c) A water source.

Under appropriate conditions, the bacteria then begin to multiply at a rate of one division of the entire colony every 20 minutes. Example: If you started with 1000 bacteria on a food, after 20 minutes you will have a million bacteria. In the next 20 minutes, the number would increase to a million million bacteria. After that, the numbers are just astronomical!

Preventing bacteria from getting into your food is primarily down to avoiding cross-contamination.

Cross-contamination means contact of one food source with any type of contamination from another source. This can be other food (raw or processed), packaging, garbage, contaminated water or air, unclean or sick people, animal life, or unclean tools and surfaces.

In good professional kitchens there are different refrigerators for different functions. For example, there is a refrigerator for dairy products, another for cold fresh vegetables and another for cooked foods.

As homeowners, we don’t usually have that luxury, so it’s wise to keep cooked food at the top of the fridge and raw materials in closed containers at the bottom. In this way, the risk of contamination is significantly reduced.

Eggs in particular should be kept in a closed container as they have a lot of bacteria on their outer shell.

Remember to wash your hands and arms up to the elbow before preparing food. First cut your salads and then move on to the foods to be cooked. Make sure you wash your board thoroughly before moving on to other types of food.

Wash all surfaces with a good detergent before and after work. Put the towels in the wash after each use. Always start with a clean cloth.

Rule #3)

Prevent bacteria from multiplying in your food.

As mentioned above, bacteria need the right conditions to proliferate. To do this, they need A) the right temperature, B) food and C) water.

It follows that food should be stored at the lowest possible temperatures to keep bacteria inactive. Also, avoid letting your food come into contact with water before preparing it. By defrosting food in water, we give the bacteria a head start.

Cook your food as soon as possible and keep it at a temperature of at least 70 degrees Celsius after cooking until ready to serve.

If you need to refrigerate your food, do not place warm food in large containers in the refrigerator. Break it up into smaller containers and don’t stack them in a way that doesn’t allow air to circulate around the containers. Once cool, freeze if possible.

When you thaw food, do it in the refrigerator in a closed container. Remember that planning a meal a few days in advance is better than having to take a few sick days off from bed.

After defrosting, cook the food as quickly as possible.

The best way to destroy all bacteria is to cook your food in a pressure cooker. In this way, the combination of increased temperature and increased atmospheric pressure will completely sterilize the food.

Rule #4).

Destroys bacteria on food, utensils and work surfaces.

This rule speaks for itself. Don’t let them arise in your kitchen.

Prepare food as quickly as possible. Uncooked foods should be frozen if they are not going to be eaten within a short period of time.

Alternative forms of food preservation such as dehydrating, smoking, canning, sterilizing, concentrating and curing are all alternative ways to prevent the development of and destroy bacteria in food.

The environment is also a source of food contamination, so you should wash your work surfaces with hot water and dish soap after each use.

In professional kitchens, all work areas should be covered with stainless steel. In this way, the surface can be cleaned with special grease and lime-dissolving chemicals based on caustic soda or phosphoric acid. For safety reasons, do you remember never to mix chemicals? especially acids and bases such as caustic soda and phosphoric acid.

Also wash all utensils in very hot water and dish soap. The water should be so hot that you need gloves to endure the heat.

Store pots, pans, plates, cutlery and other utensils in a clean and dry place. Make sure they are dry before storing them away. Use a clean tea towel every time. Store them upside down. Keep all storage areas clean. Check regularly for signs of bugs.

Before serving, heat dishes to 80 degrees Celsius. This further prevents contamination.

These are the four principles of good food hygiene. Follow them closely and the chances of you or your customers getting sick will be greatly reduced.

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