Yesterday was World Food Safety Day. This year’s theme is ‘Safer Food, Better Health’ – something that we at Verner Wheelock fully support. We’ve been making it our business to ensure that food producers, manufacturers and food handlers receive the very best training in Food Safety and HACCP for over 30 years. Different foods and flavours have evolved over the past 3 decades, but the need to produce food that is safe to consume has remained the same.
What is Safe Food?
Simply put, safe food is food which will not cause injury, illness or death. Many people have suffered discomfort at some time after eating. Often this is a mildly upset stomach. However, some people are more susceptible to food poisoning than others. These include babies and infants, pregnant women, people recovering from an illness and elderly people. Their bodies’ natural immune system is not as strong as the average person’s.
What causes food poisoning?
Food poisoning can be caused by consuming bacteria, moulds, chemicals, metals and naturally-occurring poisons in foods. It can also be airborne in the form of viruses and spores. Therefore, how we prepare, cook and store food, either at home or within the food and hospitality industries, is extremely important to ensure food safety.
Here are just a few examples of things we need to do:
- Keep raw and cooked food separate
- Wash all fruit and vegetables before use
- Defrost food safely – in the fridge, rather than at room temperature
- Make sure we understand the difference between ‘Use by’ and ‘Best Before’ labelling
- Ensure that meat and poultry are cooked thoroughly
- Abide by reheating and hot-holding time and temperature guidelines
- Beware of cross-contamination from utensils, cloths etc.
- Make sure hands are washed regularly and clean and appropriate PPE is used
- Clean equipment, surfaces and utensils effectively
- Stay away from work if we feel ill
According to the charity Allergy UK, between 5 and 8 percent of children in the UK have food allergies. Making sure you are aware of any allergies in the food you produce or sell and labelling it appropriately will help to avoid serious illness or even death. Food manufacturers can find out more about food allergens on our one-day Managing Food Allergens in Manufacturing course. Retailers and caterers will benefit from our Natasha’s Law online course.
If you’re eating out
Finally, if you’re eating out or buying takeaway food, it’s a good idea to check out the business’s Food Hygiene Rating. If an establishment has a score of 5, that’s excellent. A score of 1 or zero might make you rethink…