Food hygiene and Importance
Food hygiene is the act of preparing, handling, serving or storing food in a good-sanitary, pathogen free, dirt, poison and felt free condition. The process also ensures food retains acceptable texture, smell and colour to the prospective customer. Food hygiene incorporatesall aspects of food preparation from the point of collection of raw materials through preparation, storage to the point of sale or consumption of finished product.
METHODS OF FOOD HYGIENE
The following are the most important methods of food hygiene. It includes keeping high standard of: Personal hygiene Kitchen hygiene and the application of several other preventive measures against food contamination by microbes and chemicals.
1. PERSONAL HYGIENE
The human body and its parts, such as the hands, skin, mouth, nose, hairs and even the clothing are usually sources of contamination of food since they normally harbour mmicroorganisms.
Therefore personal cleanliness is necessary for every food handler so as to promote and ensure a high standard of food hygiene. This can be achieved through the following;
1. Hands: The hands should be kept clean always, and nails should be kept short and clean always. The hands must always be washed regularly and thoroughly using germicidal soap and warm water and drying the hands with disposable paper towels before and after handling food.
2. Hair: The hairs are bound to break and fall off from time to time, it is important therefore that this does not fall into food by the use of appropriate clean head coverings and beard masks by food handlers.
3. Mouth, Ears and Nose: These are some of the body orifices that harbour microorganisms that can be transmitted to food by coughing, sneezing and spitting. Individuals who are suffering from bad cold should not be permitted to handle food so as to avoid messing up the food.
4. Other Parts Of The Body: Which may come in contact with food such as the forearms and neck should be adequately covered with clean protective clothing.
5. Protective Clothing: These include overalls or kitchen whites, aprons, head coverings and beard masks, handgloves which must be washed regularly with germicides or detergents or soaps before use.
6. State Of Health: All food handlers should be in good state of health. It is advisable that food handlers who are I'll should not handle food since they can easily contaminate food.
The kitchen is the actual place where raw materials are turned into food, which becomes the finished product. The environment of the kitchen, utensils and all other equipment which the food will come in contact with must be kept clean and germ-free in order to prevent contamination of food.
The kitchen environment must be kept clean, the windows and doors must be fitted with protective wire netting to prevent the entrance of flies, insects, pests and even rodents. The utensils such as the spoons, knives, plates and equipment like blenders, toasters and others must be kept clean before and after use.
OTHER PREVENTIVE MEASURES
1. Correct storage of foodstuffs at right temperature.
2. Correct re-heating of food.
3. Quick cooling of food prior to storage.
4. Protection of food from vermins and insects.
5. Adequate provision of cleaning facilities and clean equipments.
6. Keeping food covered as much as possible.
7. Purchasing foodstuffs from reliable sources.
8. Proper disposal of food remains, scraps and waste into bins fitted with lids and kept outside the kitchen.
IMPORTANCE OF FOOD HYGIENE
The following are the importance of food hygiene.
1. To preventfood poisoning and infection as a result of microbial contamination.
2. To prevent chemical food poisoning or a result of chemical contaminants.
3. To increase the shelf life of the food.
4. To maintain food acceptability in terms of taste, texture, colour to the prospective consumer.