Providing Safe Food





Outline of Servsafe course book 5th edition

Chapter 1: Providing Safe Food

Safety is essential when doing any activity. The necessary precautions must be taken in order to ensure there is safety when doing any particular thing. There is no exception when handling foods. Foods are very sensitive. Unsafe handling of these foods may bring harm to people and even cause death. The small precautions that we were taught as soon as we started talking such as washing the food before cooking or consuming them, washing our hands before handling any foods, making sure that we are taking our foods  in clean utensils and areas, and so on, are also as important now as they were back then (NRAS 11).

A number of diseases are brought by mishandling of foods. This mishandling includes working in dirty areas, storing the foods in the wrong ways, improper cleaning of the foods and lack of ones own personal hygiene. A foodborne-illness outbreak is an occurrence where two people or more get a similar illness after the consumption of the same type of food or foods. This can be brought by poor storage of foods, dirty foods, and the foods being accidentally contaminated by foreign objects, amongst others. Physical hazards, which are unwanted objects that accidentally get in to contact with the food, are also a source of foodborne diseases and food poisoning as referred to by many. When the food is left without any consideration, these kinds of objects will easily be exposed to the foods. Pests, chemicals found in the kitchen but are not necessarily used for cooking particular foods, are used some of the physical hazards that one might come across (NRAS 17).

To contaminate, as previously used, is having harmful substances in the food. This is a major contributor of food poisoning/foodborne illnesses. It can best be prevented by handling in clean areas, washing the foods thoroughly, storing it as recommended, amongst others. A kind of contamination that frequently occurs when handling foods is cross-contamination. This is when microorganisms are moved from one food to another or from one surface to another. This mostly happens with the knowledge of the one handling the food or without his/her knowledge. It is always good to work in one area at time and use clean items when handling each task in order to avoid such occurrences. Chemical hazards are the chemical substances associated with the kitchen, but are not necessarily used directly in the foods. These include sanitizers, machine lubricants, polishes, cleaners, toxic hazards, amongst others. These should be stored separately from the food substances in order to avoid them coming in to contact with each other (NRAS 26).

The good thing about our bodies is that it has its own way of defending itself from diseases or other unwanted substances in the body. The system that does this kind of work is known as the immune system. Although this is normally in place, there are certain kinds of microorganisms that still manage to penetrate our bodies thus making us ill. Foodborne- illnesses manage to penetrate these systems thus making our bodies ill. That is why it is very necessary to handle the food with care in order to avoid contaminating the food. It is the responsibility of any body, whether individual or corporate, to handle food with care and do everything within their reach to make sure that food is safe. This is called reasonable care and can be used in case there is an occurrence that led to food contamination, but the parties responsible could not do much about it (NRAS 25).

Foods must be stored in the right temperatures and within the required times. If they are kept in cooling facilities, the right temperatures must be provide for the type of food to be stored. If it is cooking, then each type of cooking must be done in accordance with the food to be cooked. All these contribute to the safe handling of foods. Everyone is responsible for his or her actions. If one mishandles food, their actions will not only cause harm to other people, but they will also bring harm to themselves.

Chapter 2: The Microworld

The microworld is the world of microorganisms, which normally cause diseases and illnesses. They can grow anywhere as long as the conditions in that particular area are conducive enough for their growth. Each type of microorganism grows in diverse conditions although there are those conditions that are good enough for most of the microorganisms. Foods are not exempted from getting these organisms. The conditions favorable for the growth of foodborne pathogens, which are types of microorganisms, are food, temperature, acidity, moisture, time and oxygen. Without the needed supply of all these conditions, the pathogens cannot survive.

Pathogens need food because they require the nutrients in the food to reproduce and grow well, just like any other living things. They need temperatures that are between 41°F to 135 °F in order to grow well. That is why most of the foods are kept in cooling facilities in order to deprive the pathogens these condition. The acid pH level required for the growth of these pathogens is 4.6 to 7.5 (NRAS 39). To discourage their growth, the foods are brought down to a level of at most 4.5. Pathogens can grow high enough to cause illnesses within two hours. It is advisable to remove the foods in the danger zone within the two hours, as they are harmful in the third hour. Water is very important for the growth of these pathogens. They require a wa (water activity) of between 1.0 and 0.86. Almost all types of these pathogens need food to grow. However, there are a few, which can grow without oxygen.

The most common cause of foodborne illnesses is harmful bacteria. This is because they are commonly found and they require the least of the conditions provided above in order to grow. As said earlier, foodborne pathogens are inactive when they are in freezing areas. However, viruses can survive freezing temperatures. However, they only start replicating when they reach a host’s cells. They can contaminate both food and water and that is why they can easily be gotten by Humans. An example of virus disease gotten through the contamination of food is Hepatitis A. This virus affects the liver thus bringing along a couple of other problems. The most common symptoms of this disease are fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, clay-colored feces, jaundice, loss of appetite and a dark amber color of the urine due to bile excretion (NRAS 41).

The unfortunate thing is that this disease is infectious. This means that it can be passed on from one person to another. Its symptoms take between 2 and 6 weeks before they can reveal themselves although the victim is normally infectious during this period. A specific treatment has not been gotten for Hepatitis A patients. They are only advised to eat well and have plenty of rest. One of the bacterium that is known to cause a nu8mber of foodborne illnesses is the bacillus cereus gastroenteritis. It is mostly associated with cooked rice dishes as it causes nausea after the consumption of these types of foods. Listeriosis, a disease cause by the bacteria known as listeria, is normally linked with processed foods (NRAS 43).

Another disease caused by bacteria is known as hemorrhagic colitis. It is also a type of gastroenteritis and normally infects the large intestines. Its main symptoms are severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea, which is first watery then becomes bloody. The disease known as clostridium perfringens gastroenteritis is normally associated with corned beef. The most severe symptoms of this illness are severe abdominal cramps, flatulence and diarrhea. Other illnesses that one will encounter in the study of food microorganisms causing illnesses are shigellosis, vibrio gastroenteritis, cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis amongst others. As constantly seen the most common symptoms in these diseases are abdominal pains, diarrhea, fever, nausea, general body weakness, flatulence, amongst others. The best way to avoid these types of diseases is to be hygienic and to make sure that the pathogens are deprived one or two of the named conditions in order to discourage their growth.

Chapter 3: Contamination, Food Allergens and Foodborne Illnesses

Contaminated food is hazardous food. This is because hazardous substances have gotten into the food therefore making in not suitable for human consumption. The substances can be physical, chemical or biological. It is necessary for one to have an understanding of these types of contamination in order to prevent the foodborne illnesses. There are many forms of toxins that contaminate the food. The fish toxins, which are produced the fish themselves, are a major cause food contamination. Other toxins occur when a fish eats another fish that contains the toxins. Unfortunately, they are not destroyed during the cooking process (NRAS 77).

The toxins found in the shellfish are the toxins, which are in the marine algae. These fish encounter these toxins when filtering the algae. The toxins can neither be smelled nor tasted. They can also not be destroyed by cooking or freezing. Although the mushroom is a nutritious type of food, it is also associated with a number of toxins. These are normally found in the wild mushrooms. These toxins can also not be destroyed by cooking or freezing them. It is important to have an expert when choosing the mushrooms to eat. Other plant toxins occur jimsonweed, rhubarb leaves, fava beans, apricot kernels, water hemlock, honey from nectar gotten from mountain rhododendrons or laurel, milk from a cow that has consumed snakeroot, amongst others (NRAS 84).

Chemical toxins can occur through pesticides, toxic metals, cleaning products, sanitizers, cleaning products and sanitizers. Metal poisoning occurs when acid food is put in this equipment. The toxins caused by polishes, sanitizers, cleaning chemicals, and others, occur when these chemicals are improperly stored or incompletely rinsed off when used on the utensils. It is important for one to read the instructions thoroughly before handling them in order to avoid such accidents and incidences. When foreign substances and objects are brought into the food, physical, contamination takes place. This includes the introduction of such substances like metal cans’ shavings, cartons staples, broken glasses, blades, rubber, hair, nails, and stones, amongst others. Substances like bones and fish fillets can also pose a hazard to the consumer.

It estimated that there are 7 million people with food allergies in America alone. A Food allergy occurs when the body negatively reacts after the consumption of a particular food or foods. These allergies happen immediately or after a few hours of the consumption of the food. All this depends on an individual. Although the reaction is different from one individual to another a few reactions are common in most people. These reactions include itching of all or some of the body parts, shortness of breadth or wheezing, vomiting, hives, tightening in the throat area, diarrhea, face swelling, eyes, ears, nose and feet. Others include abdominal cramps, loss of consciousness and sometimes, death. Most people are seen to have food allergies of proteins such as milk and its products, meat and its products, eggs and egg products, fish, wheat and its products, shellfish, soy and its products, tree nuts and peanuts (NRAS 82).

It is best to know the people one is cooking or handling food for in order to avoid incidences where one consumes a food that he/she is allergic to. There are people who take measures before consuming such kinds of foods such as taking allergy drugs before or after the consumption of the food. It is important for one to handle each food separately in order to avoid the contamination of one food with another. This will greatly reduce the chances of one contaminating the foods through the mentioned toxins or the allergic foods.


Work Cited

National Restaurant Associations Solutions. ServSafe Coursebook Fith Edition. New York: Prentice Hall, 2008. Print.

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