Preventing Food Contamination$15

Protect your food service and restaurant patrons from the dangers of eating food that has become contaminated by bacteria, chemicals or foreign objects. In this course, your food service and restaurant staffers learn the most important safety protocols and techniques for any food and beverage operation.
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Course Objectives:

  • Learn what food contaminants are
  • Learn how food becomes unsafe for consumption
  • Understand the populations at highest risk for contracting illnesses from food
  • Master advanced skills to process foods that are most likely to become unsafe

Food contamination is the biggest problem that your employees should understand and know how to prevent. How does food become contaminated? The answers to that question could surprise you, because food can become contaminated in several ways:

  • Biological contamination happens when bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites are allowed to contact your food or – worse yet – allowed to grow in it. This happens when you acquire food from unsafe sources, fail to store it correctly, do not heat meats to the correct internal temperatures, or allow food to come into contact with contaminated or unclean equipment. It can also happen when food is handled by personnel who have failed to correctly wash their hands.
  • Chemical contamination occurs when food comes into contact with detergents, pesticides, cleaning supplies or hand sanitizers. Note that those chemicals are commonly found in all restaurants and food service operations. If your staffers are not taught the proper procedures to prevent chemical contamination, serious problems can result.
  • Physical contamination happens when non-food objects become mixed in with food and are served to customers. This kind of contamination is perhaps the easiest to overlook when you are creating a training program, but it is of critical importance. Among the most common non-food items that find their way into food include packaging materials (staples, “twist-ems” that are used to close bags, bits of plastic bags or food wrap) as well as toothpicks and hair.

Preventive Skills and Protocols to Teach

Your training program must teach your employees how to prevent food from becoming contaminated. Some of the needed skills seem obvious, like requiring your staffers to wash their hands, wear hairnets, stay home from work if they are ill, and avoid sneezing in areas where food is prepared or served.

Other skills are less obvious, but just as critical. Unless your employees are taught to prevent cooked food from coming into contact with uncooked food, food can become contaminated and make people ill. Unless they understand that cooked meats cannot be placed on platters that previously held uncooked meats, odds are good that contamination will take place. Unless your kitchen staff knows how to safely receive frozen meats, inspect them for thawing, then store them promptly in freezers and make sure that freezer temperatures are sufficiently low, bacterial contamination can happen.

Remember that none of these skills can be “taught, then forgotten.” You need to have systems in place to make sure that food safety routines are practiced consistently – and to train your staffers to not only understand protocols, but to practice them diligently.