Food Safety Hazards | 4 mins read

Everything You Need to Know to Avoid Food Safety Hazards

everything you need to know to avoid food safety hazards
Mary Kate Morrow

By Mary Kate Morrow

Introduction

15 million Americans have food allergies and 48 million people, or roughly 1 in 6 Americans, get sick as a result of foodborne diseases. There are four food safety hazards that every food business must consider to create the best food safety possible.

The Four Types of Food Hazards

There are four different types of food safety hazards that food service professionals must always consider during food preparation and serving. Mindfulness of these four safety hazard types will allow food business professionals to decrease food poisoning cases and produce the best food product possible.

The four main food safety hazard types include any-

  1. Biological hazard
  2. Chemical hazard
  3. Physical hazard
  4. Allergenic hazard

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Biological Hazards- How to Prevent

A biological hazard occurs whenever food is contaminated by a microorganism. Microorganisms include viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Microorganisms are necessary for life and are present in everything ranging from our water supply to our own bodies.

Foodborne illness or food poisoning can occur if a harmful microorganism is consumed. Factors that contribute to biological hazard proliferation include-

  • Acidity levels- Lower acidity levels attract bacteria
  • Moisture levels- Moist foods provide warmer and wetter environments that attract microbes
  • Food temperature- Within the danger zone of 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit bacteria can nearly double within 20 minutes.
Prevent a biological hazard through every control point in the food business chain. Control points range from food preparation to raw material cooking. When packaging keep analysis critical to minimize the amount of air your food product is exposed to.

Temperature management is crucial to the reduction of bacteria growth. Food safety protocol should always be vigilantly performed to avoid food contamination and food safety violations.

Chemical Hazards- How to Prevent

A chemical hazard occurs whenever food is contaminated by a harmful substance. Chemicals are present in a variety of different ways including organically, purposely added, or accidentally exposed.

Regardless of how your food is chemically contaminated, a chemical hazard can create foodborne illness or food poisoning that could potentially result in death.

Prevent a chemical hazard through every control point in the food business chain. Keep analysis critical whenever performing food safety sanitation and cleaning procedures.

Limit your usage of chemicals to those generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Materials that could potentially create a chemical hazard should be stored away from every food product possible.

Physical Hazards- How to Prevent

A physical hazard occurs whenever a food product contains a foreign object. A physical hazard could be naturally occurring like a stem or unnatural such as a strand of human hair.

While food business professionals may attempt to minimize every physical hazard it is important to keep in mind that an unnaturally occurring physical hazard is likely more dangerous to consumer health. Every physical hazard has a different level of danger, for instance, a strand of human hair may not be as harmful as a piece of metal, glass, or plastic.

Prevent a physical hazard through every control point in the food business chain. Keep analysis critical when inspecting food and always follow food safety standards. Pest control is essential to avoiding unnecessary physical hazards. A physical hazard that is an insect or a pest dropping are can cause food poisoning and leave your customers feeling very upset.

Upset customers can bring costly lawsuits, bad reviews, and decreased business so pest control is one of the most important lines of defense to avoiding physical hazard occurrences. A successful food business is one that looks for a physical hazard before it has the chance to cause food contamination.

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Allergenic Hazards- How to Prevent

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An allergenic hazard occurs whenever a food product produces an abnormal immune response in the human body. More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies annually and an allergic reaction is widely considered the deadliest type of foodborne illness in existence.

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent an allergic reaction from occurring through the food service industry. There are however ways to reduce the probability of allergic reaction occurring through effective food safety techniques. Additionally, any common food product that can cause an allergic reaction should be clearly labeled and separated from other products whenever possible.

Food Safety and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point System

Food safety is a complex subject that necessitates a careful hazard analysis critical control point system. Food service professionals must think of particular food borne threats such as the clostridium botulinum bacteria while also keeping in mind larger concerns like pest control protocol.

Within the hazard analysis critical control point system, there are critical control points to consider. A critical control point is any action taken to avoid or decrease a safety hazard by a food business professional. A critical control point is not limited to food preparation but includes everyone in the food business chain. The seven main principles of a hazard analysis critical control point system include-

  • Food hazard analysis
  • Critical control point classification
  • Critical limit establishment
  • Monitoring system
  • Corrective action
  • Verification system
  • Recording and documentation

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