Much like other external factors, the human body is prone to hazards associated with the consumption of food. Every year, food-borne illnesses affect an estimated 4.1 million Australians. While it is impossible to avoid all food safety hazards, there are ways to prevent them.
A good place to start is identifying and learning to reduce food safety hazards. Accredited online courses about the safety and handling of consumable products can help you reach that goal.
Read on to learn about four primary food safety hazards and how to avoid them!
1. Biological Hazards
Biological hazards are typically caused by the contamination of food by microorganisms. These microorganisms can be found in the air, food, water, animals, and even in our bodies. While many of these tiny organisms are beneficial for our anatomy, there are still many more that can cause food-borne illness if they make their way into our food. A few examples of these microorganisms are Listeria, Clostridium Perfingens, Norovirus, and E. coli.
Prevention: Steps like pasteurization, irradiation, sanitation, and strict temperature control can dramatically reduce the risks from these biological hazards.
2. Chemical Hazards
Chemical hazards are caused by the presence of harmful substances in the food. These contaminants can be found in food naturally or sometimes added unintentionally during processing. Some examples of chemical hazards include mycotoxins, sodium nitrate, and pesticides.
Prevention: The best ways to minimize chemical hazards include adequate cleaning and sanitation, employee training through accredited online courses, proper storage, and following the food safety guidelines.
3. Physical Hazards
Physical hazards are caused by the presence of foreign objects in food. Like chemical hazards, they can be naturally part of the food or could be added unintentionally. An example of natural physical hazards is fruit stems and that of unnatural physical hazards is plastic or hair. Unnatural physical hazards are usually more dangerous than natural ones.
Prevention: Physical hazards can be prevented by a thorough inspection of food and strict adherence to food safety standards. Advanced x-ray machines can also be deployed in the production and packaging processes to eliminate physical hazards. Accredited online courses about food safety standards can be highly effective in keeping physical food safety hazards in check.
4. Allergenic Hazards
The last but often the most dangerous food safety hazard is an allergenic hazard. It is a leading cause of illnesses. Allergic reactions occur when our bodies produce an abnormal immune response to specific proteins present in food. A common example of food allergy is peanut allergy.
Prevention: The best way to reduce food allergies is by adhering to strict production and packaging techniques. Manufacturers must accurately label their products with complete ingredient information.
During this pandemic, our responsibility toward food safety has increased tenfold. Advanced inspection systems and practices along with extensive training can protect both the products and food businesses from damages and costly hazards. At the Australian Institute of Accreditation, we offer accredited online courses to help you boost your learning about food safety and handling. Visit our website and enroll right away!