According to public health officials, there are three primary ways that food in restaurants and food processing facilities can become contaminated and unsafe to consume:
1. Biological: unhealthy microorganisms in the food.
2. Physical: hair, dirt, airborne pollutants that get in the food.
3. Chemical: intrusion of cleaning chemicals into the food.
* Appropriate personal hygiene of all staff members handling food; this includes frequent washing of hands, arms, and making sure all sores or cuts are covered.
* Storing food only as long as recommended and at proper temperatures to ensure freshness and safety.
* Effective cleaning and sanitizing of all food contact surfaces, food equipment, and utensils.
* Proper cleaning of all floors, walls, and surfaces.
Proper cleaning typically involves using cleaning solvents and this can be a double-edge sword — if cleaning chemicals get into food, it can be dangerous. To avoid or limit this risk:
* Use auto-dispensing systems to ensure cleaning chemicals are properly diluted.
* When cleaning surfaces, spray the cleaning solution onto the cloth, not directly onto surfaces; this can reduce the amount of chemical used and prevent cleaning chemicals from becoming airborne.
* Look into alternative cleaning and sanitizing methods such as the use of aqueous ozone, already used to clean fruits, vegetables, and other food items.
* Provide ongoing training and education of all food handling workers.
* Have all cleaning, sanitizing, and food safety instructions available in multiple languages. Along with having instructions in multiple languages, visual cues and signs should be posted throughout the kitchen. These constant reminders can really pay off when it comes to food safety.