Food safety refers to handling, preparing and storing food in a way to best reduce the risk of individuals becoming sick from potentially harzardous food and food-borne illnesses.
Food safety is a global concern that covers a variety of different areas of everyday life.
The principles of food safety aim to prevent food from becoming contaminated and causing food poisoning.
For more information on Food safety, visit the Queensland Health website.
What is ‘potentially hazardous food’ and food-borne illness
Potentially hazardous food’ is food that is able to support the growth of bacteria. Bacteria produce toxins (either prior to or after being eaten) that can cause illness. These types of food must be kept under strict temperature control in order to prevent the growth of bacteria. Examples of potentially hazardous food are:
- Dairy products including milk and cream
- Foods containing dairy products including cheese cakes, butter icing and custard tarts
- Cooked rice and pasta
- Cooked fruit and vegetables including salads
- Meals containing any of the above products such as casseroles, stir fries, curries, lasagnas, quiches.
Some foods carry bacteria despite being kept in correct storage temperatures.
Chicken often carries the bacteria Campylobacter. This is one of the most common causes of food-borne illness. You can avoid this illness by:
- thoroughly cooking the chicken to ensure this bacteria is killed
- handling raw chicken so as to ensure there is no cross-contamination with ready to eat foods such as salads
- not washing chicken as splashes can spread bacteria to other foods and surfaces
- always using separate utensils or wash utensils immediately after cutting raw chicken
- always washing cutting boards immediately after cutting raw chicken
- always washing hands after handling raw chicken
- always storing chicken properly covered and at the bottom of the fridge to ensure juices don’t contaminate other foods
Personal hygiene is an essential element of the provision of safe food. This list provides some basic good hygiene practices that should routine in all food premises:
- Regular hand washing, particularly:
- Between handling raw meat and ready to eat foods such as salads and fruit
- After going to the toilet
- After having a cigarette
- After handling money – it is better to have one particular person handling the money so as not to contaminate food
- Use separate utensils for each food type in a bain maree
- Avoid wearing small jewellery that may not be seen if it falls off
- Tie back or cover hair with hair nets
- Keep fingernails short and clean and do not wear nail polish
- Wear clean clothes and wash aprons daily or when soiled
- Ensure all open wounds are fully covered with brightly coloured band aids that can be readily seen if they fall off
- Do not handle food if you are unwell, especially with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhorea
I’m Alert Food Handling Training
Hinchinbrook Shire Council subscribes to I'M ALERT Food Safety an accredited online food handling training provider. I'M ALERT Food Safety is an online food safety training program that various organisations subscribe to and deliver FREE food safety training to the food handlers within their local authority. I'M ALERT Food Safety enables a consistent and efficient delivery of Food Safety Training.
The program can be accessed online, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and includes:
- Sections reflecting the basic food safety principles as outlined in the Food Safety Standards (Eg. Temperature Control, Food Receipt, Food Storage, Hygiene of Food Handlers etc.)
- Ability to only select the sections that are relevant to your role
- Interactive tasks and quizzes
- Printable training acknowledgement form (assists a food business operator and staff to demonstrate skills and knowledge requirements)
- Printable certificate (can be displayed within a food business)
- "Remind me" option (prompts a user to conduct the training again after a nominated time period)
- "Notify" option (enables a user to notify others of their completion of the training program)
This course can be accessed at www.hinchinbrook.imalert.com.au.