Nowadays, the issue of food safety is quite relevant. Everyone knows the importance of consumption of the fresh and healthy of high quality. In fact, food significantly influences the health, performance, psychological state, and longevity of the individuals. Nevertheless, each year, the pathogenic bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemicals contained in food are supposed to be the cause of more than 200 diseases from cancer to diarrhea (Brewer & Prestat, 2002). In fact, every day, there can be seen various new threats to the food safety. The changes in the technology of food production, its distribution, and consumption as well as the changes in the environment, emergency of the new pathogens and bacterial resistance are supposed to be the key threat factors for the national food safety systems. In addition, the activation of people’s migration and trade increase the likelihood of international spread of the unsafe products.
The above-mentioned proves the necessity of strengthening the systems of food safety. In fact, food safety should be the shared responsibility issue. It must be guaranteed throughout the food production chain, starting from farmers and producers and ending with the retailers and consumers. Although legislative acts and regulations as well as the hygiene regulations define the requirements for food safety as the paramount requirements, such documents do not regulate the methods of their provision.
Foundations for Use
The foodborne diseases can be allocated as the specific group of the harmful illnesses. They include acute or rarely chronic diseases caused by the consumption of food with the massive amount of the microorganisms or toxic substances of both microbial or non-microbial origin that can be harmful for the human health.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year about 76 million of Americans fall ill due to the consumption of the food that is harmful for the health ((Brewer & Prestat, 2002). About 5,000 of the abovementioned patients die (Brewer & Prestat, 2002). Compliance with the standards of food safety contained in the following manual can help to prevent the occurrence of the foodborne illness in the restaurant.
There are foods, the consumption of which increases the likelihood of foodborne illness in people with a high predisposition to such diseases. These foods include:
- Undercooked / underdone / raw meat;
- Raw oysters;
- Undercooked eggs;
- Unpasteurized milk or juice.
Although anyone can get sick after eating the food, which has been prepared without the strict compliance to the safety rules, some people get sick more often and they are supposed to be at greater risk for the foodborne illness (Schlundt, 2002). Such people include:
- Children at the age under 5 years old;
- People who are over 65 years old;
- Pregnant women;
- People with the impaired immune system due to cancer, AIDS, diabetes, other diseases, or due to the usage of certain drugs (Schlundt, 2002).
- Safe Food Handling
Avoidance or refusal to follow the personal hygiene rules can cause an accidental transition of the harmful microbes into the food even by the healthy workers. The rules of the personal hygiene for the food workers include:
- Avoid contacting with food in case of any of the unhealthy symptoms;
- To wash hands regularly;
- To use clean utensils and gloves when handling any food;
- To ease the hand washing, it is recommended to trim the nails regularly.
The food workers are prohibited to work with food if they have the following symptoms:
- The diagnosed infectious disease that can be transmitted through food, such as Hepatitis A, E. Coli (Escherichia coli), or Salmonella (Schlundt, 2002);
- Constant symptoms of runny nose, coughing, or sneezing;
- Open wounds with the signs of the infections;
- Vomiting, jaundice, or diarrhea.
The food workers are obliged to assure the constant cleanness of their hands. In fact, hands should be washed after the following activities:
- After the usage of the WC;
- After the removal of dirty dishes or garbage;
- After the contact with raw fish, meat or poultry;
- After the contact with animals or the usage of chemicals;
- After sneezing, blowing the nose, or coughing;
- After the eating, smoking, or any other break.
The food workers should wash their hands in the sink with hot and cold water. The soap usage should be followed by the usage of the paper towels or any other single-use method for drying hands. At least 20-second hand wash is required to be done by all individuals who work with food (Schlundt, 2002).
The hand-washing algorithm includes the following (Schlundt, 2002):
- Wet the hands with the soap so that it could act.
- Lather the hands and wash them thoroughly. Be sure to scrub under the nails, between the fingers, and wash the hands up to the elbows. Hands should be washed in at least 20 seconds. Note the time until get used.
- Precisely rinse the hands with clean water.
- Completely dry the hands with a paper towel or with another single method. The paper towels are preferred as they help to remove more microbes.
The food workers are not allowed to touch ready-to-eat foods with their bare hands. In addition, the food workers are forbidden to eat, drink, or smoke in the food preparation areas. This is needed to prevent the mixture of food, beverage, or tobacco with the dish as well as to reduce the likelihood of food contamination. This is done in order to prevent the transmission of the germs that might remain on the hands onto the ready to eat dishes and products. The workers’ hair should be effectively covered. The personal items, such as drugs, outerwear, and bags should be kept away from food as well as table linen and utensils.
The Flow of Food
To assure the safety and freshness of food, the ingredients should be received and purchased from the specifically approved food producers and suppliers. Each partner should be checked for the compliance with the sanitary approved standards and norms as well as the legislation.
Most of the harmful microbes can be killed with the specific temperature for the food preparation. The specific thermometer can be used to measure the temperature of the food. In fact, the type of food and the cooking time define the preparation temperature for each dish. However, the temperature no lower than 165°F should be applied to all the raw animal products that are prepared in the microwave or oven. To retain moist, food must be covered. However, due to the uneven food preparation, it is recommended to measure the temperature at several locations of the products.
To prevent bacterial growth, food should be stored in the fridge. Cold food should be stored at the temperature of 41°F or lower.
The issue of cross-contamination is supposed to be one of the most dangerous during the food storage process. The raw meat is the key source of cross-contamination. When blood or raw chicken or other meat gets on the kitchen table, cutting boards, utensils or hands, bacteria can be transferred to other foods. Thus, it is important to keep the raw meat separately from other foods. The useful tips to prevent cross-contamination include the following:
- To assure the sanitization of the working surfaces after each contact with the products that belong to the risk group.
- To wash the hands each time after the contact with the risk group products;
- To use the separate cutting board for the risk group products;
- Not to prepare the risk group products next to other products;
- To keep the risk group products below other food in the freezer.
Each employee is obliged to follow the abovementioned sanitary and hygiene recommendations strictly in order to assure the safety of the food service in the restaurant.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)
HACCP, or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, implies the direct and logical control system based on the prevention of possible dangers and hazards in the food industry. It covers all stages of production of a particular food product, starting from receiving the raw materials and ending with the realization of finished products. It is aimed at identifying the biological, chemical, and physical hazards that can threaten the safety of products and manage processes to eliminate the negative effect of these factors.
This management tool provides the structured approach to the control of the identified hazards. Compared to traditional methods, it allows moving from testing the final product to the development of the efficient preventive measures (Nerton, 2010).
The practical implementation of the abovementioned system includes the implementation of the following steps (Sperber & Stier, 2010):
- 1st step: The training of the management and staff.
- 2nd step: The selection and appointment of the leadership team of HACCP that is responsible for the development, implementation, and monitoring of the HACCP system in the working environment.
- 3rd step: The gathering of the background information and analysis of the existing procedures.
- 4th step: The gathering of the data about the kinds of the potential dangers.
- 5th step: The risk and hazards analysis.
- 6th step: The development planning and preventive action.
- 7th step: The selection and compilation of a list of critical control points.
- 8th step: The development of the monitoring system.
- 9th step: The internal audits (Sperber & Stier, 2010).
The introduction of management systems of food safety based on HACCP principles gives the company the great variety of the external benefits, in particular (Sperber & Stier, 2010):
- The creation of reputation for high quality and food safety;
- The increase of the consumers’ confidence and loyalty;
- The increase of the investment attractiveness of the restaurant;
- The ability to enter new markets, including the international ones, as well as to expand the existing markets;
- The additional competitive benefits in case the participation in the tenders;
- The reduction in the number of complaints by providing a stable product quality;
- The improvement of the restaurant competitiveness on the market.
Employee Food Safety Training
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines the food safety in the production, processing, distribution, and preparation of food as the key priority. The foodborne diseases are viewed as one of the key threats of modern society. People all over the world increasingly express their concern about the health risks associated with microbial pathogens and potentially hazardous chemical substances contained in foods. The foodborne diseases affect all population, but especially the people from the high-risk groups. The modern food processing technologies, international trade, and an extensive logistics system make it possible to eat at any time, whenever possible, and whenever it is convenient. However, the development of the global markets, international trade flows and dynamic trends in technology production and consumption include new risks and require new strategies to ensure the food safety.
According to the official statistics, the number of food poisoning cases associated with the consumption of the food is constantly growing (Brewer & Prestat, 2002). Therefore, the food industry and catering workers should be aware of the importance of the food hygiene in the workplace.
Bad reputation can ruin the whole business, while the foodborne diseases can be fatal. In the context of a huge staff turnover in the catering business, the effective training of the staff regarding food safety becomes the priority. However, such training should focus not only on the legal aspects of occupational health and food safety, but also on the correct use of the heat and refrigeration. Obviously, the storage of products at the incorrect temperatures is one of the most common causes of foodborne diseases. The abovementioned stages of learning reflect the minimum of steps that should to be taken to comply with legal requirements to assure food safety.
The changes in the technology of food production and consumption as well as the emergency of the new pathogens and bacterial resistance require the catering service establishments as well as the restaurant workers to be more careful to the food safety. The increase of the foodborne diseases rate claims the necessity of the development of the local rules and regulations aimed at assuring the food safety system in the restaurants.
The abovementioned Food Safety Training Manual can be distributed among the restaurant workers with the specific aim to decrease the likelihood of the occurrence of the foodborne illnesses. It can be used as the part of an employee-training program and utilized throughout the operation as a continuous guide to improve the efficiency and safety of the staff performance.