This essay will discuss all the requisite things about the food safety. Some of the pathogens, salmonella, campylobactar and escherichiacoli have been mentioned. Apart from them, all types of risks that come with the allergen contamination have been given with proper delineation. The main thing is that all the above-mentioned things have been explained here with a focus on the food safety management. Some of the tools such as training, irradiation and specially HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) to support hospitality management have also occupied some space here with all its prominence and importance.
As a final point, it has been thought to be expedient to examine the solution with recommendations for practical adoption for the hospitality industry. And most importantly, there has been an inclusion of the way food safety is brought into use as part of the corporate management system.
It is known to everybody that the world is full of various kinds of problems. And it is true that everyday efforts are made to find out solution to these problems and some of them are sorted out too. Among the issues concerned directly with the human survival, which are posing a very big challenge in front of the world, one is the issue of food safety. The best thing about it is that consumers, industries and governments together are taking it into deep consideration as a serious issue. We all know that health is wealth and any carelessness which may cause food poisoning or any problem like this may lead to a very fatal consequence, so it becomes indispensable to take necessary food safety measures. The possibility of food poisoning increases particularly when food or edible stuffs are not handled with required care either at home or at a shop and restaurant. And when it is the time of disaster like earthquake or flood, food poisoning becomes a very common problem (Satin, 1999). Food poisoning is a general term for health problems arising from eating contaminated food. Food may be contaminated by bacteria, viruses, environmental toxins, or toxins present within the food itself, such as the poisons in some mushrooms or certain seafood. The cause of food poisoning fall into four main categories Bacterial food poisoning , Viral food poisoning , Chemical food poisoning and Vegetable food poisoning ( Trickett, 1987) Symptoms of food poisoning usually involve nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Some food-borne toxins can affect the nervous system. http://www.healthatoz.com
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According to Foodlink there are maximum number of food poisoning cases in United Kingdom as compared to Scotland, Northern Islands and Wales ( see appendices ) which clearly states that around 5.5 million people get food poisoning every year which can be seen from the graphs which shows that the highest number of food poisoning cases are in U.K.
It is harmful bacteria, fungi, or other such germs which generally cause food poisoning. Sometimes food goes bad due to some toxic substances. Some have the confusion that food is poisoned by putting some injurious stuff, but it is not true. Germs or bacteria grow in the food themselves when people don't store it properly or handle with care. Even in the fridge, the food may get bacteria. Some food poisoning is of mild level and some is strong level (Eley, 1996). Accordingly the food affects the human body and causes health problems. Sometimes it may be fatal too.
This contamination of food is very deleterious and can lead to bacterial gastroenteritis or infectious diarrhea. Common complaints which are found in case of food poisoning are nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, muscle pain, fever, weakness, and fatigue. With the exception of C. botulinum, the bacteria cause inflammation and swelling in the. Intestines are badly affected by bacteria except C. botulinum. They cause swelling and inflammation, leading to dehydration which causes the loss of essential fluids in the body. The intensity of complication depends on the type and amount of germs taken in through the contaminated food. Sometimes the symptoms start being noticeable just in a few minutes and sometimes they take time. ( see appendices ) If it is of mild nature, it is not so dangerous; but if it strong, it may be serious (McLauchlin and Little, 2007).
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It is pathogenic bacteria, viruses or toxins which cause food borne illness. And it happens only when some contaminated food or drink is taken in. Gastro-intestinal infections or disease have certain symptoms which like nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, or fever. These symptoms are almost like those found in case such illnesses caused by other sources. Pathogenic bacteria are generally found at various places and can contaminate food most likely. Human and animal faces generally contain this kind of bacteria. Pathogens are of various types and they affect the human body differently, so the symptoms may or may not be the same. Some pathogens may cause even symptoms like headache, jaundice, and numbness (Eley et al., 1999).
There is another type of bacteria called Salmonella which also affect the stomach and intestines. It is unprocessed milk, poultry, eggs, water and meat, in which it is found. As it was the same case in year 1980 when there was increase in the salmonella in eggs and chickens. (See appendices - 1) Some pets like birds and turtles also carry this Salmonella. The most appalling thing about it is that it can even go into the lymph tracts, which are known for tracking water and protein to the blood, and the blood itself. Thus it may cause some serious complications too (Satin, 2007).
Another bacteria which can cause food poisoning is Campylobacter. Diarrhoea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever are the most common complications which get start coming up within 2 to 5 days after exposure to the organism. In this case there may be blood dysentery with nausea and vomiting. Sometimes it is so dangerous that it becomes very fatal. It happens so particularly when people have low immune and because of which Campylobacter gets into bloodstream and causes a serious life-threatening infection. It is the months of summer when the cases of Campylobacteriosis (campylobacter infection) are generally found. Infants and young adults get this infection more frequently. In comparison with males, females are more susceptible to it. After the diarrheal illness due to campylobacteriosis, some people have been to suffer from arthritis and a rare disease that affects the nerves of the body called Guillain-Barré syndrome. Guillain-Barré needs intensive care as it may cause even paralysis (McLauchlin and Little, 2007).
Escherichia coli (E. coli) belong to the host of bacterial germs. It is the intestinal tract of man and some other warm blooded animals (mammals, birds) where it can be found. E. coli gets into the sterile alimentary tract of newly born babies just within two days. E. coli is not supposed to be so harmful, but sometimes it may be. Special toxins are produced by a group of E. coli called enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, or ETEC. The lining of the intestines which secretes excessive fluid is stimulated by these toxins, which finally cause diarrhea (Satin, 2007). ( Example An outbreak of food poisoning associated with E.coli was responsible for 15 deaths in Scotland in 1996) Food safety management , Heinemann, B(2002)
Appendices - 2 shows the safety measures for controlling the food poisoning and what are the causes of food poising and how the growth of bacteria can be reduced.
Considering health hazards caused by contaminated food, concerned organizations have started asserting the importance of quality food. World Trade Organization (WTO) has made it mandatory for all member states to follow international food standards guidelines in the sphere of foreign trade, and an agreement has been made in terms of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures. The compliance with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), which is a management system for food safety, is a vital element of these guidelines (Paster, 2006).
With a view to controlling food safety, a HACCP system is a preventive step. It is not the end product testing to a more positive, defensive approach of controlling potential hazards, on which HACCP depends. It is the Codex Aliment Arius Commission in the Codex Aliment Arius Code of Practice which characterized the modern HACCP system and guidelines for its application (Mayes and Mortimore, 2001).
It is the perfect documentation, which matters essentially as far as the successful implementation of HACCP is concerned. The food that we are dealing with is got ready beforehand. Therefore, right maintenance of training records, temperature control measures, information accessible on suppliers, the analytical classification of essential levels at which there is the possibility of contamination. A thoroughly noticeable exercise right from the farm to the fork is ensured by the HACCP system. But for this there must be the application of a methodical documentation supported by a keen team effort centered on carrying out the pertinent procedures (Jay et al., 2005). ( see appendices )
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As regards to safety problems in food processing, HACCP has proved a successful management system which is quite logical, and scientific in approach. Theoretically HACCP is applicable in all kinds of food chain, which may vary from the primary producer to final consumer.
Five preliminary steps and 7 HACCP principles that entirely explain this system are of paramount importance (Alli, 2003):
Primarily what is to be taken to notice is the complete dedication and participation of management and the labor force. Managers, agronomists, microbiologist, public health scientist, veterinarians, food technologist, production personnel, and medical experts should be gathered together by the management to accomplish the objective. Then there comes the proper specification of the products by HACCP team which includes the name of the product, methods to use them, packaging, labeling instructions, and distribution. Now what is important is a complete list of ingredients and a process flow diagram. Taking these things into account, principles which are concerned with the HACCP plan become the points of focus (Alli, 2003).
Conduct Hazard Analysis
The property which determines a food whether it is unsafe for human consumption or not is referred as a food safety hazard. The HACCP team traces the potential hazards at each step in the process flow diagram, and find out preventive measures if any. For instance, if a product contains groundnuts, the presence of naturally occurring aflatoxin7 is to be checked.Identify Critical Control Points
A food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels with the help of a critical control point (CCP). It involves a CCP decision tree which helps the team would write down the hazards, and take the possible preventive measures.Set Critical Limits for Preventive Measures Associated with Each CCP
For the control of a physical, biological or chemical hazard at a CCP, the critical limits are set to the highest and lowest values which help avert, eradicate or diminish the probability of the happening of an identified safety hazard to a satisfactory level. The with the help of limits based on scientific literature, regulatory requirements, experimental studies and expert opinions, HACCP team has to chalk out a chart for the critical limits.Establish Monitoring Procedures
To have control on a CCP and to create a precise record for future utilization and confirmation, there came up the need of something which is the monitoring procedure. This is a sequence of measurements, which gives indication as to whether or not system is going down with control. There should be consistent monitoring by using automatic time/temperature gauges. But along with that there should be regular checking of the gauge for accuracy at fixed time intervals. Frequency of monitoring must be noticed by the HACCP team to confirm if it is enough and random. This helps control the hazard if any, facilitating non-continuous monitoring like visual examinations, ingredient specifications etc.Establish Corrective Actions
Where deviation is not a success to come across the critical limits, it is the procedures of corrective actions, which are adopted. When the critical limits are not met at a CCP, the team should determine in advance what it would do. And this is what HACCP is all about and this works as a pro-active system. For bringing timely corrective actions into effect, the employees must be trained. At the same time it is also necessary that the corrective action documentation is required to be signed. But it is not possible to guess all corrective actions which are required to take decision concerning the discarding of non-conforming material, rectifying the cause of deviation, signifying that CCP is once again in control, and keep up record of the corrective action.Establish Record Keeping Procedure
According to HACCP, record keeping is very important. While keeping records it must be cared that they must be in order having information on title and date of record, critical limits, product identification, time of observation, and most importantly they must be signed by the monitoring employees and the appraiser to uphold liability. Record keeping has its own benefits. a documentation of a firm's compliance with HACCP plan, tracing history of an ingredient, a process or a product and, evidence against potential lawsuits against the firm are the things which are all because of these complete and accurate records.Verification and Validation of the System
Verification and validation of the system is also an indispensable factor. Calibration of process monitoring instruments must be verified by the HACCP team by confirming if employees are keeping precise, correct and timely records. There should be regular internal auditing. Besides, the norms set in the HACCP plan by denoting scientific literature, experimental research results, product testing results and, regulatory requirements must be validated. All this has to go a way to finish the entire HACCP system plan. Next comes the turn of a certifying agency which audits the HACCP plan developed in this way, which is very important for HACCP certification. Subsequently, the auditing of the HACCP plan must be carried out every six months. Now what is very essential is the bettering of quality of domestically produced food products, keeping head to head competition in the domestic and export market. And this calls for HACCP as a management system for food safety. The regretting fact about it is that there are very few food processing corporate companies these days which have taken up HACCP system in their plants as the development of HACCP involves a high cost which plays an important role. (see appendices) So, proper awareness is required in this direction. At the same time extra efforts should be made to make it more viable and for this proper training and guidance are required to develop it as a more competitive strategy.
To sum, no doubt the world is full of several types of problems and everyday efforts are made to find out solution to these problems and some of them are solved as well. Among the issues concerned directly with the human survival, which are posing a very big challenge before the world, one is the issue of food safety. Everyone knows that contamination of food is very deleterious and can lead to bacterial gastroenteritis or infectious diarrhea. Food safety comes first as it is in fact the base of life, when it comes to health and building a good body. But the pleasure of health gets spoiled when people take some contaminated food stuff. Considering health hazards caused by contaminated food, concerned organizations have started asserting the importance of quality food. In brief, it can be said that taking things such conduction of hazard analysis, identification of critical controls points, setting critical limits for preventive measures associated with each CCP, establishment of monitoring procedures, establishment of corrective actions, establish record keeping procedure, verification and Validation of the System and the like into the account the objectives can be achieved by the food safety management.
As the hospitality industry is a vast industry so to keep a healthy environment for its guests the hotels should consider the following recommendations:-
- The hotels should adopt HACCP principals by providing its staff with various trainings about the safety measures.
- High level management should be well educated and trained.
- The kitchen department should follow up the cook- chill and cook- freeze principal where the food handling is a first choice
- The hotels should have enough freezers and store rooms to keep the raw material
- Stock rotation should be considered as a major priority
- Staff should be provided with proper training about the food safety management.
- Inadequate cooling/refrigeration, food left at room temperature.
- Too long between preparation and consumption.
- Inadequate reheating.
- Inadequate cooking.
- Cross-contamination from raw to high risk/ready to eat foods.
- Infected food handlers.
- Inadequate hot holding temperatures.
- Inadequate hand washing.
- Contaminated raw foods and ingredients.
- Improper cleaning of equipment and utensils.
In most cases of food poisoning a chain of events takes place, and if we are to reduce the incidence of illness, this chain must be broken.
There are three main ways of breaking the food poisoning chain -
- Protecting food from contamination.
- Preventing any bacteria present in the food from multiplying.
- Destroying those bacteria that are present in the food. Protecting Food From Contamination By -
- Inspecting all food and washing fruit and vegetables before preparation.
- Separating raw and high risk/ready to eat foods at all stages of preparation, storage, display and distribution.
- Only handling food when unavoidable. Gloves, tongs and other utensils, plates and trays should be used in preference to hands, (but must be washed or changed frequently).
- Keeping food covered as much as possible.
- Preventing insects, animals and birds from entering food rooms.
- Not using unsuitable, defective, or dirty equipment.
- Using good personal hygiene practices - always.
- Not coughing or sneezing over or around food.
- Not handling the food contact surfaces of crockery, cutlery or utensils.
- All food handlers wearing suitable protective clothing.
- Using the correct cleaning procedures.
The same equipment, utensils and working surfaces must not be used to handle raw and high risk/ready to eat foods.
- Alli, I.(2003), Food Quality Assurance, CRC Press, Taylor and Francis LLC, US.
- Eley, A. R. (1996), Microbial food poisoning, 2nd edition, Chapman & Hall, London, pp. 200
- Eley, A. R., Moss, S. Sharp, M. and Robertsm C. (1999), Microbial Food Poisoning Springer-Verlag, New York.
- Heinemann, B.( 2002) , Food safety management in the hospitality industry , Elsever science, Sheffilied.
- Jay, James M. , Loessner, Martin J. and Golden, David A.(2005), Modern Food Microbiology, Springer Publishing, US. Mayes, T. and Mortimore, S. (2001), Making the most of HACCP: Learning from others' experience, Woodhead Publishing Limited, Cambridge.
- McLauchlin, J. and Little, C. (2007), Hobbs' Food Poisoning and Food Hygiene, 7 editions, Hodder Arnold, UK.
- Paster, T.(2006), The HACCP Food Safety Employee Manual, John & Wiley Sons, London.
- Satin, M. (2007), Death in the Pot: The Impact of Food Poisoning on History, Prometheus Books, UK.
- Satin, M.(1999), Food Alert!: The Ultimate Source for Food Safety, 1st edition, Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd., Publishers, Canada.
- Trickett, J.( 1987), The Prevention of Food poisoning ,2 nd Edition , Stanley Thornes Ltd., Leckhampton Electronic sources-:
- Food Poisoning, Micro-Organisms, (online) cited on 10 November http://www.ccc.govt.nz/Health/foods3.asp
- Controlling Salmonella in eggs, (online) cited on 10 November www.parliament.uk/post/home.htm
- Food Poisoning, (online) cited on 3 November http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/common/standard/transform.jsp?requestURI=/healthatoz/Atoz/ency/food_poisoning.jsp
- Implementation of HACCP, (online) cited on 15 November http://www.stecia.com/haccpa.htm