Difference Between Food Safety And Food Hygiene | 3 mins read

Food Safety and Food Hygiene- Can You Tell the Difference?

food safety and food hygiene can you tell the difference
Dakota Sheetz

By Dakota Sheetz

You have surely noticed people use the terms food safety' and food hygiene' interchangeably. Is there a difference between the two?

What is Food Safety?

Food safety is a set of practices that establishments must have in place in order to be free from hazards. Food safety ensures that the food in cafes, food trucks, delis, supermarkets, and restaurants is safe to eat.

What is Food Hygiene?

An essential aspect of food safety is food hygiene. Food hygiene ensures that customers will receive food that is safe to consume by making certain that everyone follows hygiene practices.

Food can be contaminated at any point during preparation, processing, harvesting, transportation, storage, and distribution.

Sometimes even the largest companies fail in practicing good food hygiene and their products turn out unsafe.

According to research done by The Guardian, one in seven takeaway services has failed food hygiene tests. This lack of proper hygiene can result in foodborne diseases and even death of a consumer.

Main Elements of Food Safety

In order to better understand the similarities and differences between food hygiene and food safety, we need to look at their key elements.

The main elements of food safety are-

  • Ensuring that the food is safe for consumption- This is the element that is the central function of food practices and regulations, and the element that overlaps with food hygiene the most.
  • Implementing proper systems for food management- Companies need to implement a system that will keep the food safe. The main system is HACCP, but this also refers to supply and delivery, record keeping, staff training, etc.
  • Traceability of food- If anything goes wrong during the farm-to-table process, it is important that a business can identify where all their food comes from. This is beneficial for businesses whether they are involved in the foodservice, food retail, or food manufacturing.
  • Following good hygiene practices- Businesses need to make sure every employee or person who comes in contact with the food follows good personal hygiene practices. Another element of this is the maintenance of the facility which means general upkeep and cleanliness of the building, having proper ventilation, waste management, pest control, etc.

Fundamentals of Food Hygiene

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To ensure that the food they are offering is safe, a company takes into consideration numerous areas of importance. One vital aspect of food safety is food hygiene. To develop a better understanding of what food hygiene really means, you will need to know its elements.

The fundamentals of food hygiene are-

  • Maintaining excellent personal hygiene- Having good personal hygiene includes wearing clean protective clothing, washing hands regularly, and avoiding unsanitary habits like chewing gum, smoking, drinking, or eating while working with food.
  • Following cleaning procedures- Thorough cleaning and sanitation of kitchenware, equipment, and the kitchen itself are essential when it comes to food hygiene.
  • Preventing cross-contamination- Cross-contamination is transferring food safety hazards from a contaminated surface to a non-contaminated one. Typical hazards can be chemical, bacterial, or physical and can cause foodborne illness after contaminated food is consumed. Food can be contaminated indirectly or directly by other foods, unclean work equipment or surfaces, and people.
  • Personal and storage hygiene- Person to food contamination can be avoided by maintaining good personal hygiene, food to food contamination can be prevented by storing foods properly, and equipment to food contamination can be avoided by sanitizing and washing all surfaces that come in contact with food.
  • Allergen control- Companies must prevent allergens from cross-contaminating other food and must clarify which foods are allergenic.
  • Cooking temperatures- Temperature control is important for processes such as cooling, reheating, freezing, cooking, thawing, and cooking foods. Businesses must make sure they handle the food at proper temperatures in order to prevent hazards.

Conclusion

  • Although closely interconnected, there is a difference between food hygiene and food safety
  • The terms food safety and food hygiene cannot be used interchangeably
  • Food safety aims to make sure that the food will not harm the person consuming it
  • Food hygiene consists of the measures and conditions needed to ensure the safety of the food in all stages of the food supply chain