FAQs2019-06-24T20:31:16+02:00
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Food Safety FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

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What Are Bacteria2019-04-28T13:17:45+02:00

What Are Bacteria?

Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms which can exist either as an independent (in other words freely living organism) or as parasites (meaning they are dependent upon another organism for life).

Where Can You Find Bacteria?2019-04-28T13:24:05+02:00

Where Can You Find Bacteria?

Bacteria live in water, soil, in plants and in animals. Bacteria are so prominent on earth that they also live in some of the most extreme environments, such as the deep ocean, hot springs and there is even evidence that bacteria lived on Mars. Bacteria on a human-associated level grow in your gut, on your skin and in your hair including eye-lashes. 

What Do Bacteria Need to Grow?2019-04-29T17:14:27+02:00

What Do Bacteria Need to Grow?

There are 6 elements in the environment that allow bacteria to grow and survive:

  • Temperature
  • Moisture (water activity)
  • Nutrient content
  • pH
  • Oxygen
  • Time
What is Listeria & Listeriosis?2019-04-29T17:23:21+02:00

What is Listeria & Listeriosis?

Listeria monocytogenes are known as opportunistic pathogens, meaning those that are already ill or have a low immune system are most likely to suffer from the infection.

Listeria monocytogenes are food-borne illness-causing bacteria. The disease is known as Listeriosis. Listeria monocytogenes is often isolated in cattle, sheep, and fowl, and is also found in dairy products, fruits, and vegetables.

What is Botulism?2019-04-29T17:28:24+02:00

What is Botulism?

Botulism is a paralysing disease affecting the body’s nervous system that is caused by the ingestion of one of the most potent neurotoxins produced by Clostridium botulinum.  This neurotoxin is among the most toxic substances known; even microscopic amounts can cause illness.

Do You Wash Raw Chicken Before Cooking?2019-04-29T17:33:49+02:00

Do You Wash Raw Chicken Before Cooking?

Infections in the kitchen can occur from a simple practice of washing chicken in a basin, during preparation and before cooking.

Campylobacter is able to survive in the droplets of water from the wash basin, meaning that this bacterium presents concerns during washing and defrosting practices, so much so that the international food safety specialists insist that you do not wash/rinse your chicken before cooking.

What Are Food Viruses?2019-04-29T18:13:31+02:00

What Are Bacteria?

There are 2 main viruses in food that are involved with food poisoning. Hepatitis A & Noroviruses. Although bacteria are the most common food poisoning organisms, viruses do play a role in food safety.

Hepatitis A

The hepatitis A virus is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that affect your liver’s ability to function. Hep A infections occur from consuming contaminated food or water, exactly the same way as bacteria. The main difference is, that the virus is contagious and you can get infected by having close contact with another person that is infected.

Noroviruses

Noroviruses are the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis. This is more commonly known as the stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis. Noroviruses are also spread by consuming food and water that is contaminated. Noroviruses are highly contagious and anyone can get infected like flu.

What Are Viruses?2019-04-29T17:43:37+02:00

What Are Viruses?

A virus is a micro-organism that is designed to infect its host. The primary purpose of this micro-organism  Is to deliver its DNA / RNA into a host cell. Viruses are parasites (meaning they need another organism to survive) and are generally smaller than bacteria.

You can see bacteria under a normal microscope and need an electron microscope to be able to see viruses. Viruses are measured in nanometers (nm) and bacteria is micrometres (um). There are 1000 um in 1 millimetre (mm) and 1 million nm in 1 mm.

The most common viruses we hear about daily are HIV, Influenza & Ebola. As mentioned, the primary focus of a virus to replicate its DNA / RNA and can infect a variety of hosts in a few ways.

What is Botulism?2019-04-29T17:28:24+02:00

What is Botulism?

Botulism is a paralysing disease affecting the body’s nervous system that is caused by the ingestion of one of the most potent neurotoxins produced by Clostridium botulinum.  This neurotoxin is among the most toxic substances known; even microscopic amounts can cause illness.

Do You Wash Raw Chicken Before Cooking?2019-04-29T17:33:49+02:00

Do You Wash Raw Chicken Before Cooking?

Infections in the kitchen can occur from a simple practice of washing chicken in a basin, during preparation and before cooking.

Campylobacter is able to survive in the droplets of water from the wash basin, meaning that this bacterium presents concerns during washing and defrosting practices, so much so that the international food safety specialists insist that you do not wash/rinse your chicken before cooking.

What Are Food Viruses?2019-04-29T18:13:31+02:00

What Are Bacteria?

There are 2 main viruses in food that are involved with food poisoning. Hepatitis A & Noroviruses. Although bacteria are the most common food poisoning organisms, viruses do play a role in food safety.

Hepatitis A

The hepatitis A virus is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that affect your liver’s ability to function. Hep A infections occur from consuming contaminated food or water, exactly the same way as bacteria. The main difference is, that the virus is contagious and you can get infected by having close contact with another person that is infected.

Noroviruses

Noroviruses are the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis. This is more commonly known as the stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis. Noroviruses are also spread by consuming food and water that is contaminated. Noroviruses are highly contagious and anyone can get infected like flu.

What Is Food Poisoning?2019-04-29T19:21:33+02:00

What is Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning can be defined as an illness caused by consuming food or drink that has been contaminated, causing nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea.

Food-borne illness can be mild ranging from a “runny tummy” or stomach cramps to severe dehydration causing hospitalisation. Exposure to toxins from bacteria can even cause death.

How Common Is Food Poisoning?2019-04-29T19:31:07+02:00

How Common Is Food Poisoning?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that 1 in 10 people worldwide, fall sick from food poisoning. Within that 10%, 420 000 people worldwide incur severe infections or complications from food poisoning and die from food poisoning each year.

In 2007 The Food Standards Agency (FSA) estimates that there are around 850,000 cases of food poisoning each year in the UK.

The FSA estimates that there are 500 deaths from food poisoning in the UK every year.

Foodborne illness, better known as the dreaded food poisoning, causes almost 50 million illnesses and 3,000 deaths annually in the United States.

Who Is Most At Risk Of Getting Food Poisoning?2019-04-29T19:49:07+02:00

Who Is Most At Risk Of Getting Food Poisoning?

  • Small children/babies are incredibly prone to food poisoning
  • Pregnant moms
  • The elderly
  • And those that are immunocompromised, especially HIV infections and cancer patients.

This is because each person in these categories does in one way or another have a lower immune system than the general population.

How Does Food Get Contaminated?2019-04-29T19:54:26+02:00

How Does Food Get Contaminated?

It takes several steps to get food from farm to fork. We call these steps, “The food production chain”.

Contamination can occur at any point along this chain during:

  • production
  • processing
  • distribution
  • preparation
What Are The Food Safety Pillars?2019-04-29T20:44:31+02:00

What Are The Food Safety Pillars?

The food safety pillars is a system designed to actively manage food safety risk and therefore reduce the chance of causing food poisoning. These are the basic principles taken from understanding all the factors that allow bacteria to grow.

  • The first pillar is cleaning and sanitising.
    • Physical cleaning and sanitising to remove germs and bacteria.
  • The second pillar is personal hygiene,
    • Regular hand washing as well as maintaining personal cleanliness and that of appropriate uniforms.
  • The third pillar is food storage
    • Storing raw and ready-to-eat foods separately from each other.
  • The fourth pillar is temperature control.
    • Keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  • The fifth pillar is food handling
    • Includes the principles of cooling, reheating and defrosting practices.
How Does Food Get Contaminated?2019-04-29T19:54:26+02:00

How Does Food Get Contaminated?

It takes several steps to get food from farm to fork. We call these steps, “The food production chain”.

Contamination can occur at any point along this chain during:

  • production
  • processing
  • distribution
  • preparation
What Is Food Safety / Food Hygiene?2019-04-29T20:21:36+02:00

What Is Food Safety / Food Hygiene?

Food Safety is defined as handling, preparing and storing food in a way that reduces the risk of individuals becoming sick from foodborne illnesses.

These risks include contamination from biological, physical or chemical sources.

Food safety systems or food hygiene programs are designed to minimise these risks.