What is Food Contamination?
Food contamination is defined as spoilt or tainted foods that include germs such as bacteria or parasites, or toxic compounds that render them unfit for human consumption.
A biological, chemical or physical food contaminant can exist, with the former being the most frequent. These pollutants can infiltrate the supply chain (from farm to fork) in various ways, rendering a food product unfit for ingestion. Pesticides, heavy metals, and other foreign chemicals are examples of chemical food pollutants that can enter the food supply chain.
The microbiological, chemical and physical contamination issues of food items are discussed in this issue of Foods.
In various documents and reports, the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified food contamination as a global problem. “Food contamination that occurs in one place may harm the health of consumers on the opposite side of the earth,” according to a statement.
In reality, the vast majority of people globally will contract a foodborne or waterborne illness at some point during their lives. As a result, contaminated food causes disease in millions of people, with many of them dying as a result. In this scenario, “food contamination” becomes a severe problem.
What Are the Three Types of Food Contamination?
1. Biological Contamination
Food that has been contaminated by organisms or the compounds they generate is referred to as biological contamination. Humans, rodents, insects, and bacteria all produce biological stuff.
Bacteria and viruses are the most prevalent sources of biological contamination, and they can cause food poisoning from salmonella, E.coli, listeria, and Norovirus, among other illnesses. Handwashing and sanitizing food handling equipment are two of the most effective strategies to avoid bacterial contamination.
2. Physical Contamination
When a foreign body contaminates food, it is called physical contamination. This can happen at any point throughout the manufacturing process and can include Band-Aids, steel wool, or plastic fragments.
Physical contamination can harm someone who unintentionally consumes the alien object. Physical contamination comes with the additional risk of biological contamination from the alien object.
3. Chemical Contamination
Food that has been contaminated with a natural or manufactured chemical ingredient is known as chemical contamination. These contaminants are especially hazardous because they expose individuals to a variety of harmful compounds, some of which are deadly.
Pesticides transported from the soil in which the food is grown or throughout the manufacturing process can contaminate food at any point in the process. Chemicals must be stored separated from food in order to avoid chemical contamination.
How Does Food Contamination Impact Consumers and the Economy?
Due to underreporting and the difficulty of establishing causative linkages between food contamination and consequent sickness or death, the burden of foodborne diseases on public health and economies is frequently underestimated.
The overall production loss associated with foodborne sickness in low- and middle-income countries is expected to be US$ 95.2 billion per year, according to a 2019 World Bank research, and the yearly cost of treating foodborne infections is anticipated to be US$ 15 billion.
Food safety supports national economies, trade, and tourism, as well as food and nutrition security and long-term development.
The number of individuals buying and eating food produced in public locations has increased as a result of urbanization and changes in consumer habits.
Consumer demand for a larger variety of foods has increased as a result of globalization, resulting in a more complicated and longer global food chain. Climate change is expected to have an impact on food safety.
To maintain food safety, these problems place additional responsibilities on food producers and handlers. Because of the speed and breadth of product distribution, local problems can swiftly escalate into international crises.
Also Read: Key Components of Food Safety Compliance
How to Prevent Food Contamination?
Methods to Avoid Food Contamination
Here are five techniques for preventing food contamination so that you and your family are less likely to get sick.
– Wash Your Hands
These instructions have been repeated since kindergarten, and with good cause. Your hands contain their own bacteria and germ environment. The majority are safe, but some can be highly dangerous.
Furthermore, it is your hands that are leaning against filthy windows, gripping germ-infested handrails, and getting exposed to an unbelievable amount of foreign microorganisms. As a result, it’s critical to wash your hands frequently using antibacterial soap, especially if you’ll be handling food.
– Workstations and cutting boards should be clean
Cleaning your countertop/workstation regularly, especially when cutting or handling raw food, is a crucial strategy to avoid getting infections from your food. Cutting boards are the same way.
This is because raw meat and poultry, in particular, contain hazardous bacteria that can cause food poisoning or other ailments. To avoid food contamination, sanitize your chopping board every time you use it.
– Maintain Your Refrigerator
Keeping your refrigerator below 41 °F (5 °C) is one of the less obvious but still crucial techniques to avoid food contamination. This is because germs and bacteria have a hard time multiplying in extremely cold temperatures. As a result, your meal will last longer. Another strategy for avoiding food contamination in the fridge is to avoid overfilling it. Overcrowding your refrigerator reduces air circulation, which helps keep it cool. If it’s overflowing, air won’t circulate properly, allowing additional germs and bacteria to grow on your food.
– Make Sure Your Food is Well Cooked
Raw meat and fowl, as previously said, are high in dangerous bacteria. This is why you should make sure that meats are properly cooked inside and have no “pink” (raw) tint. You can kill any persistent dangerous bacteria that could cause illness by properly boiling them.
For young kids, pregnant women and their foetuses, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems, food poisoning is highly dangerous and sometimes fatal. These people should take special precautions and avoid the foods listed below:
- Meat and poultry that is raw or rare
- Oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops are examples of raw or undercooked fish or shellfish.
- Foods containing raw or undercooked eggs, such as cookie dough and homemade ice cream
- Alfalfa, bean, clover, and radish sprouts are examples of raw sprouts.
- Ciders and unpasteurized juices
- Pasteurized milk and milk products are available.
- Soft cheeses like feta, Brie, and Camembert, as well as blue-veined and unpasteurized cheeses
- Pates and meat spreads kept refrigerated
- Hot dogs, luncheon meats, and deli meats that haven’t been cooked
Controlling Food Contamination with Digital FSMS
What exactly is a food safety management system, and why do you need one for your business?
A food safety management system (or FSMS) is a method used by food companies to ensure that their products are safe and satisfy quality standards. It’s a method of managing food safety that ensures that all of the food made meets quality standards, indicating that it’s safe to eat.
You must be aware of local laws, adhere to food safety requirements, and keep meticulous records. You must also ensure that every one of your employees understands these concepts, follows all protocols, and knows where to go for answers when questions or concerns arise over the course of their workday.
This can be a difficult process for any size meat producer, especially if you’re still utilizing pen and paper, mountains of printed lists, and difficult-to-store manuals and logbooks for food safety management.
While there is no way to avoid following food safety regulations, there is an easy way to keep track of everything and ensure that your employees do as well.
Digital food safety management solutions relieve stress by making your job more efficient and information easy to update, allowing you to focus on other elements of running your food service business. But what is this miraculous software, and how can it assist you?
The days of writing everything down and marking it off on paper logs are gone. You no longer have to sift through stacks of paper checklists and daily work log reports.
With HACCP, you can run more smoothly, avoid more issues, and even identify and rectify important issues in real time, fully paperless, preventing problems down the road and saving time and money.
1. Digital Logbook
Make checklists and categorize them by categories, staff kinds, and frequency of use. Determine which personnel are performing effectively and where procedures should be improved for greater efficiency.
Examine reports on failed critical and non-critical activities, determine which managers or staff aren’t following the rules, and take corrective action.
Check out the latest trends in your business with roll-up reports that can be seen in real time and printed anytime you choose, or go fully paperless.
2. Temperature Tracking
With Zip HACCP, food safety is a major focus. Temperature solutions that are automated and integrated ensure that food is kept at the proper temperature and is safe to eat.
Sync all temperature data in real time across all devices without having to write anything down in a paper notebook.
By just looking at your app, you can ensure that temperatures are always appropriately checked on-site, no matter where you are. Keep track of your activities, review your reports, and take corrective action before serious issues occur.
3. HACCP Compliance
HACCP helps you remain on top of food safety, whether you’re on-site or not, with built-in food safety and hazard control checklists. In addition to the checklists, remedial measures are also provided, ensuring that food safety is always at the top of everyone’s priority list.
An effective food safety management system should be simple to understand, set up, and update. Previously, only the largest corporations could afford the most advanced food safety management systems and specialist apps, but that is no longer the case.
Today, it’s simple to locate excellent software to assist even the tiniest and newest companies in maintaining food safety and employee productivity, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
With our food safety software, you can automate your food safety and compliance processes.
By implementing a food safety management system to automate your operations and eliminate paper-based forms, you can ensure the highest food safety standards and protocols while also following industry best practises.
The digital software allows you to develop digital checklists and dashboards and aids in the maintenance of a food safety culture throughout the organization, allowing everyone to work toward common food safety, quality, and compliance goals using consistent and synced data.
Food safety software also ensures that you have complete visibility and are always aware of what is going on. It enables you to make timely decisions by allowing you to track your processes in real time and using preventive actions to assure quality compliance.
It also keeps you up to speed with the latest regulations and requirements by automating corrective steps as soon as an issue emerges, reducing human labour and error.
The Benefits of Food Safety & Compliance Software?
It is critical to have a food safety management system in place in your company if you want to run a profitable business. Food safety software assists you at every step of the process, from animal selection to packing and shipping. Here are some of the ways it can help you:
- Costs of compliance are reduced.
- Recalls are reduced.
- Increase profits
- Improves one’s reputation
- Assists you in prioritizing clients and avoiding food poisoning.
- Enhances the nutritional value of food
- Ensures that you are adhering to federal food safety laws.
- Employees’ efficiency and motivation are improved.
- It aids in the organization of your processes.
With consistent, accurate, and reliable data, you can ensure animal welfare and food safety. Contact Folio3 today and get our Food and Safety compliance software deployed to avoid hazards in your food business.
What causes food contamination?
Bacteria and viruses have become prevalent foodborne pathogens. Some fo the most common causes are listed below:
- Parasitic Protozoa are parasitic organisms that feed on other organisms.
- Toxins produced by mould
- Mushrooms That Are Poisonous
What are the 4 types of food contaminants?
Contamination Comes in Four Forms. Chemical, microbiological, physical, and allergic contamination are the four basic types of contamination. These four species of bacteria can contaminate any food.
What are 5 ways food can be contaminated?
The 5 most common ways the food can be contaminated are:
#1 There is a lack of basic sanitation and hygiene.
#2 Due food cross-contamination
#3 Inadequate meal preparation
#4 Not properly keeping your food
#5 The state of your kitchen is filthy.