CHAPTER VI: SANITATION AND HYGIENE
In the last chapter, we talked about professionalism in the kitchen. One of the most important ways of demonstrating professional pride is in the area of sanitation and hygiene. Pride in quality is reflected in your appearance and work habits. Even more important, poor sanitation can cost a lot of money. Poor food handling procedures can cause illness, unhappy customers and even fines and lawsuits. Increased food spoilage also raises food costs. Poor sanitation shows lack of respect for your customers, your fellow workers and for yourself.
Most food borne diseases are caused by bacteria, tiny one-celled organisms so small, they can only be seen under the microscope. Bacteria are everywhere, in the air, in water, in the ground, on our food, on our skin and even inside our bodies. There are several types of bacteria:
1. Harmless Bacteria – Most bacteria fall into this category. They are neither helpful nor harmful. We are not concerned with them in food sanitation.
2. Beneficial Bacteria – These bacteria are helpful to us. For example, many live in the intestinal tract, where they fight harmful bacteria, aid in the digestion of food and produce certain nutrients. In food production, bacteria make possible the manufacture of many foods, including cheese and yogurt.
3. Undesirable Bacteria – These are the bacteria that are responsible for food spoilage. They cause souring, putrefying and decomposition. These bacteria may or may not cause diseases, but they have built in safety factors: they announce their presence by sour odors, sticky or slimy surfaces, and discoloration. As long as we use common sense and follow the rule:`when in doubt, throw it out’, we are relatively safe from bacteria.
We are concerned with these bacteria for two reasons:
a. food spoilage costs money
b. food spoilage is a sign of improper food handling & storage. This means the next type of bacteria is also present.
4. Disease-causing bacteria – are also called pathogens. These are the bacteria that cause most food borne illnesses. Pathogens do not necessarily leave detectable odors or tastes in food. In other words, you can’t tell whether the
food is contaminated by smelling, tasting or looking at it. The only way to protect against pathogenic bacteria is by proper hygiene and sanitary food handling and storage techniques.
Bacteria multiply by splitting into half. Conditions for growth include:
1. Food – Bacteria require some kind of food in order to grow. They like many of the foods we do.
2. Moisture - Bacteria require moisture in order to absorb food.
3. Temperature – Bacteria grow best at warm temperatures. Temperatures between 45 and 140F (7 to 60C) will promote the growth of disease causing bacteria. This temperature range is called the Danger Zone.
4. Acidity and Alkalinity – In general, disease causing bacteria prefer a neutral medium, neither too acidic or alkaline.
5. Air – Most bacteria require oxygen to grow. These are called aerobic. Others are called anaerobic, which means they can only grow when no air is present, such as in metal cans. Botulism is one of the most dangerous forms of food poisoning caused by anaerobic bacteria.
6. Time – When bacteria are introduced to a new environment, they need time to adjust to their new surroundings before they start multiplying. This time is called the lag phase.
Protection against Bacteria:
Because we know how and why bacteria grow, we should be able to keep them from multiplying. There are three basic principles of food protection against bacteria.
1. Keep bacteria from spreading – Don’t let food touch anything that may contain disease-producing bacteria, and protect food from bacteria in the air.
2. Stop bacteria from growing – Take away the conditions that encourage bacteria to grow. In the kitchen, our best weapon is temperature. The most effective way to prevent bacterial growth is to keep the food below 45F or above 140F (7C & 60C). These temperatures will not necessarily kill the bacteria but will at least slow down their growth considerably.
3. Kill bacteria – Most disease causing bacteria are killed if they are subjected to temperatures above 170F(77C) for 30 seconds or higher temperatures for
shorter holding times. Certain chemicals also kill bacteria and can be used to sanitize equipment.
We have understood the fact that most food borne disease is caused by bacteria. Now we can change that statement to read: most food borne disease is caused by bacteria spread by food workers. The first step in preventing food borne disease is good personal hygiene. Even when we are healthy, we have bacteria all over our skin and in our nose and in our mouth. Some guidelines to be followed in the kitchen include:
1. Do not work with food if you have an infection or communicable diseases.
2. Bathe or shower daily.
3. Wear clean uniforms and aprons.
4. Keep hair neat and clean – always use a cap while at work.
5. Male workers should preferably be clean.
After eating and drinking
After using the toilet
After handling or touching anything that may be contaminated with
7. Cover coughs and sneezes and then wash hands thoroughly.
8. Keep hands away from your face, eyes, hair and arms.
9. Keep fingernails clean and short. Do not wear nail polish and jewelry.
10. Do not smoke or chew gum while on duty.
11. Cover any cuts or wounds with clean bandages.
12. Do not sit on worktables.
Proper food storage will eliminate contamination of foods and prevent the growth of bacteria already in the food.
Dry Food Storage:
Dry food storage pertains to those foods not likely to support bacterial growth in their normal state. These would include flour, grain, sugar, dals, pulses, salt, fats and oils, canned and bottled products. Store these types of foods in a cool dry place, off the floor away from the wall and not under a sewer line. Keep all containers tightly closed to protect them from insects, rodents and dust. Remember that dry foods can get contaminated even if they do not require refrigeration.
All frozen food must be stored at 0F (-18C) or lower. All frozen food must be kept tightly wrapped or packed to prevent freezer burns. Label and date all items. Thaw frozen foods properly before use either in the refrigerator or in cold running water. The microwave oven could also be used to thaw food quickly. Do not thaw at room temperature because the surface temperature will go above 45F (7C) before the inside is thawed, resulting in bacterial growth.
Keep all perishable foods below 45F (7C). Do not overcrowd refrigerators. Leave space between foods so that air can circulate. Keep refrigerator doors shut except when putting in or removing foodstuffs. Keep shelves and interiors of the refrigerator clean. Store raw and cooked food separately. Keep food covered properly in the refrigerator and in suitable containers.
CHAPTER IX: AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF COOKING FOOD
1. Cooking partly sterilizes food. Above 40C(140F) the growth of bacteria falls off rapidly and in general it ceases above 45C (113F). Non sporing bacteria are killed at temperatures above 60C (140F) for varying periods of time. For example, to make milk safe for consumption, it is pasteurized at 63C (145F) for 30 minutes or at 72C (161F) for 15 seconds. Boiling kills living cells with the exception of spores, within a few seconds. Spore bearing bacteria take about 4 to 5 hours of boiling to be destroyed. To destroy them in a shorter time, higher temperatures must be used.
2. Cooking helps to make the food more digestible. Complex foods are often split into simpler substances during the cooking process. This helps the body to absorb and utilize the food more readily than in the raw form.
3. Cooking increases the palatability of various dishes.
4. Cooking makes the food more attractive in appearance and therefore more appetizing.
5. Cooking introduces variety. Many different types of dishes can be prepared using the same ingredient.
6. Cooking helps to provide a balanced meal. Different ingredients of different nutritive values combined together in one dish make it easier to provide a balanced meal.