Whether you’re working in a restaurant, delicatessen counter or small food outlet, food safety affects all people within the food industry. According to the Irish scientist’s yearbook, in the EU, there are an estimated 45.4 million cases of food poisoning each year. Therefore, it is necessary that all staff working in this area are trained and informed on how to work with food in a safe manner.
What is food poisoning?
Food poisoning, also known as foodborne illness, is an illness caused by consuming food or water contaminated by bacteria or other toxins. We all know food poisoning will make you feel unwell, typical symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Symptoms usually only last for 2-5 days, but in some cases they can lead to long-term effects or even death.
Where does contamination occur?
First off, it is important to know that food contamination can occur at any stage of the production line, such as the growth, shipment or the preparation of food. There is then the case of cross contamination, this is one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Here bacteria or other toxins are unintentionally spread from one surface to another. An example of this would be touching raw chicken and not washing your hands before preparing a salad.
Types of infections
Food contamination can be caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites. The most common contaminants are campylobacter, salmonella, Escherichia coli (E.coli) and Hepatitis A. Campylobacter is the most common type of food poisoning in Ireland, with 2,288 cases recorded in 2013 and 2,600 in 2014. The bacteria are usually found in raw meats and unpasteurised milk. Symptoms from this form of food poisoning include fever, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal pain. There are however simple measures that can be taken to prevent this type food poisoning. These include cooking meat thoroughly and avoiding cross contamination.
Why you need HACCP training
If you work in the food sector you are responsible for the safety of your co-workers and the general public. It is also worth considering that food poisoning cases can have a costly effect on a business from a financial perspective. These effects could include; legal action, bad press and even closure of the business. Therefore, it is vital that employers in the food sector implement HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point) training for all staff members. Through HACCP training, workers will be educated about the hazards in the workplace in order to ensure food is prepared in a safe manner. HACCP training level 1 and 2 courses are available now via our website.
If you would like to enroll in an online HACCP training course or would like more information please feel free to contact us here.