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Food Borne Illness Prevention

Development – To define detail, scope and purpose.

User Uploaded Image Let us help you to develop integrated Food Safety and Quality solutions that level the playing field and get you ready to control your hazards. In fact, we're experts in helping you to establish effective systemic tools, drive continuous improvements and show you where your most effective outcomes originate.
Website: https://alimentex.com/
Sales Contact Person: Aron Malcolm
Sales Contact Email: achievegreatness@alimentex.com

Training participants will gain a basic understanding of Food Borne Illness Prevention and its applications within food safety and quality systems. Basic knowledge competency will be verified through successful completion of the accompanying Food Borne Illness Prevention assessment activity. Basic skill competency can be verified through the Food Borne Illness Prevention competency checklist available as a resource for this training activity.

Key Definitions For Food Borne Illness Prevention
- Bacteria: Bacteria are microscopic single-celled or non-cellular spherical or spiral or rod-shaped organisms which are present everywhere; in the air, the soil and on human skin. Many types of bacteria can cause diseases, but others can be very helpful to humans.
- Food Borne Illness: Food borne illness, also food borne disease and commonly referred to as food poisoning is any illness resulting from the consumption of contaminated food.
- pH: From potential of Hydrogen. The logarithm of the reciprocal of hydrogen-ion concentration in gram atoms per litre; provides a measure on a scale from 0 to 14 of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution where 7 is neutral and greater than 7 is more alkaline and less than 7 is more acidic.
- Ultra Heat Treatment or UHT: Ultra-high temperature processing or ultra-heat treatment both abbreviated UHT, is the partial sterilization of food by heating it for 1 to 2 seconds at a temperature exceeding 135 Degrees Celsius or 275 Degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature required to kill bacterial spores in milk.

Food Borne Illness Prevention Development
When considering the development, documentation and implementation of Food Borne Illness Prevention within food safety and quality management systems, the following information should be considered to ensure effective outcomes:

About Food Borne Illness Prevention
Micro-organisms, in particular, bacteria, are by far the most common cause of Food Borne Illness. Food Borne Illness is also commonly referred to as food poisoning. Symptoms of “food poisoning” can include diarrhoea, stomach cramps and pain, paralysis, vomiting, nausea, fever, headache and sweats. For some specified groups including the elderly, infants, immune-compromised and children, the effects of Food Borne Illness can lead to chronic problems, sometimes even death.  In this context, it is essential that the microbiological integrity of a product is upheld at all stages while it is being processed and for the entire life of the product. 

Food-poisoning organisms can potentially grow during food storage or preparation in food business. They may already be on the food when it is received, for example, Campylobacter on raw chicken, or may contaminate the foodstuff during preparation, for example, Staphylococcus introduced by a food handler, or from a dirty environment, for example, Listeria from wet surfaces or Salmonella from rodents. To complicate the issue, some food-borne organisms can spread from one infected person to another. Food borne viruses may start such an outbreak in a workplace. The symptoms of food poisoning include any or all of the following: diarrhoea, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, nausea, fever, and headache. The severity of the symptoms depends on the organism, the dose received, and the person suffering the illness.

There are three main causes of Food Borne Illness:
- Presence of naturally occurring toxins produced by bacteria in higher than specified safe levels;
- Actions of micro-organisms themselves once inside the host human;
- Chemicals or other contaminants.

Food poisoning does not necessarily occur immediately after eating contaminated food - Most people automatically assume the last thing they ate the cause of the problem. An incubation period is required. This is the time between the contaminated food being eaten and when the symptoms become apparent. The incubation period varies between the different types of food-poisoning organisms. In some cases it is measured in minutes, hours, days or even weeks.

It generally goes without much thought, but the occurrence of any Food Borne Illness outbreak is far reaching in its destruction of reputation, confidence and livelihoods:

The Reputation of your:
- Name and your business brands;
- Professionalism as a food industry professional;
- Capabilities to adhere to the required food safety legislation.

Confidence in:
- “Farm to Fork” Food Safety Management;
- Your moral obligations to supply safe foods to those who loyally choose to patronize your food business;
- The businesses that supply your ingredients and services.

The Livelihoods of:
- Your friends, colleagues and business associates involved with your food industry sector;
- Each individual working in the food industry;
- People who have a financial investment in your food business.

Food Borne Illness outbreaks are often caused by the following:

Bacteria and Viruses
Bacteria and viruses are extremely microscopic in size. It could take millions of bacteria to produce a colony the size of the full stop at the end of this sentence. This amount of bacteria is more than enough to cause many people to become seriously ill.

Chemical Contamination
Chemicals are usually in solution and cannot be seen unless they are a recognized colour. Food accounts for a high percentage of the total human exposure to most chemicals from environmental sources. Fish poisoning, for example, by Ciguatoxin and Scombrotoxin accounts for a large portion of the reported outbreaks. Scombroid poisoning is most often a result of histamine production in fish that have been improperly refrigerated. Heavy metal poisoning occurs frequently when acid foods such as lemonade and carbonated beverages come in contact with such heavy metals as copper, zinc, antimony and cadmium.

Parasites involved in most outbreaks are very small and cannot be seen with the unaided eye.

Process Control Management: Food Preservation Methods
Foods are preserved in a number of different ways and for varying purposes. The primary concern relating to food preservation lies with making food safe through preventing presence of pathogens and food spoilage organisms. In today’s consumer driven world, preservation methods have evolved to be considerate regarding quality characteristics such as palatability, odour, flavour, texture, appearance and longevity.

Food preservation methods include:

Atmospheric Control 
Packaging protects the product from the effects of air, moisture, and contamination by foreign matter. The amount of gasses such as moisture vapour, oxygen and carbon dioxide can be controlled in the packaging process. Oxygen may be totally or partially excluded from packaging, and replaced with gasses such as nitrogen or carbon dioxide or a combination of gases, which will help to prolong the product life. The selection of light proof or light retardant materials can reduce a product’s exposure to light that may otherwise induce spoilage.

Foods are heated to kill bacteria, yeasts and moulds, and to neutralise naturally occurring enzymes, all of which will change the food if left undisturbed. Sterilisation, retorting, pasteurisation and blanching are all common treatments covered by the cooking sector in preservation. Cooking is also useful in making foods more palatable in texture, and also aids in changing the taste of foods distinctively.

Moisture Control
The most ancient and widely practiced method of food preservation is drying. Drying eliminates the moisture that micro-organisms require for growth. The sun and the wind were the sources of energy used in earlier times to dry foods, and now dehydrators and drying ovens are most popular pieces of equipment in food production and preservation.

Other methods of controlling moisture levels in foods include the use of chemical humectants such as salt, sugar and glycerine. These substances are very effective in controlling moisture levels in foods, while also leaving foods with textural characteristics that dried foods lack.

pH and Acidity Control
Acid control has been a long used method in food preservation. As micro-organisms do not tolerate high levels of acidity in their growth, storing food in acid for preservation works very successfully. Pickling fruits and vegetables, meats and fish in vinegar has been practiced for thousands of years to preserve these foods for use when they would have otherwise spoiled.

Pasteurisation is a heat treatment used to destroy vegetative bacteria. It does not necessarily destroy spores or toxins. Pasteurisation is a gentle process designed for foods that may be affected by very high and abrupt temperatures. Times and temperatures for pasteurisation vary from one food type to another. An example of pasteurisation is the method conducted for milk, which is usually standardised at 72 Degrees Celsius or 162 Degrees Fahrenheit or above for at least 15 seconds. Foods that have undergone a pasteurisation process not contained within hermetically sealed packaging must generally be stored under refrigerated or frozen conditions.

Sterilisation is a heat treatment that destroys almost all vegetative spores and bacteria and spores. It is usually referred to as Commercial sterility as some bacteria may still be present. The process commonly usually involves heating hermetically packaged products to 121 Degrees Celsius or 250 Degrees Fahrenheit or higher for a specified timeframe. Commercial canning operations are considered a form of sterilisation.

Ultra Heat Treatment
Ultra Heat Treatment or UHT is used to give a long shelf to foods otherwise affected by prolonged high temperatures. It involves heating to high temperatures. For an example, UHT milk may be heated up to 135 Degrees Celsius or 275 Degrees Fahrenheit for one to two seconds before rapid cooling.

Temperature Control
Temperature control is probably the most commonly used preservation method for potentially hazardous foods. The ability to control foods at low temperatures through refrigeration and freezing for storage, distribution and handling, and high temperatures for short term storage of cooked product, enables us to use temperature as a viable preservation method.

Temperature recording and related protocols need to be scheduled and maintained as components of a successful food safety program. The basis of temperature recording is the ability to record temperatures correctly and efficiently in relation to adhering to documentation when temperatures are found to be outside of nominated boundaries.

The following steps can be taken in initiating temperature control as a Critical Control Point:
- Assess a food ingredient or product as to its potentiality to become unsafe if not kept within specified temperature bounds. Food ingredients or products may be regarded as potentially hazardous if they are found to become unsafe if not kept within specified temperature parameters. Such food ingredients or products should be nominated for temperature monitoring as part of the food safety system;
- Nominate a temperature measuring device to be used for each particular item to be measured, taking into account;
- Accuracy of measurement, including calibration and suitability of measurement device for the item to be measured;
- Efficiency of measurement;
- Safety of measurement, so as not to affect the safety or suitability of the food ingredient, product or equipment to be measured;
- Nominate safe food temperature limits including exposure times where applicable where items are being cooled or heated through hazardous temperature zones;
- Nominate control measures to be initiated where temperatures are found to be outside the prescribed limits for food safety;
- Nominate and sufficiently train the personnel involved in temperature monitoring and administering corrective actions when required;
-Training should include all relevant factors in recording and processing temperature monitoring information;
- Store the nominated food ingredient or product under temperature controlled conditions using appropriate methods and equipment;
- Monitor the food ingredient or product, as well as the equipment used in temperature control at scheduled intervals, using nominated temperature recording equipment;
- Regularly verify and validate temperature monitoring and recording procedures along with its associated documentation and role within the food safety system.

Chemical Preservation Methods
In many foods, chemicals, in conjunction with one or more of the previously mentioned methods of preservation are used. Stringent care must be initiated when using these chemicals, to ensure that they are only used in accordance with valid safety data in creating a safe, consumable product. Misuse of such items can very realistically result in potentially more serious human complications than the very problem that chemicals are used to combat in the first place.

A good understanding of the growth requirements for relevant pathogens is required to operate a sufficient food safety program.

Chemicals used for this process may include:
- Sodium and Potassium Nitrates and Nitrites: Commonly used in cured meat products; these chemicals not only preserve the product, but also give a pink colouring to the food. There is some concern that these may be carcinogenic or cancer causing;
- Lactic Acid: This occurs naturally in soured milk, and are also added to foods such as other dairy products and liquid items;
- Benzoic Acid and Sodium Benzoate: These are commonly used in beverages including softdrinks, beer, cordials, syrups and fruit juices;
- Sorbic Acid and Potassium Sorbate: Sorbic acid occurs naturally in some fruits, but is sometimes added to some beverages and foods such as yoghurt and processed cheese to aid preservation;
- Citric Acid: Citric acid occurs naturally in citrus fruits such as lemons. It is commonly used in baked goods and tinned vegetables as a preservative;
- Sulphur Dioxide, Sulphite and Sodium Metabisulphate: These chemicals are used extensively throughout global food industries. The unique aspect of these is that they stabilize Vitamin C, and also act as a bleaching agent for flour and other starches;
- Acetic Acid: Also known as vinegar, acetic acid has been used throughout the centuries to Pickle foods;
- Sodium, Potassium and Calcium Propionate: These chemicals are often used in dairy products to prolong shelf life;
- Antibiotics: Nisin is an example of an antibiotic used in foods to aid preservation. It is also commonly used in canned foods.

If your food business supplies foodstuffs manufactured to a customer’s specifications, it is important to consider any specific Food Borne Illness Prevention Development requirements in relation to their items.

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