How many times do you come across a co-worker that is not giving enough care and attention to properly sanitizing equipment? The Listeria outbreak which occurred at Maple Leaf foods in 2009 was determined to be from in-proper sanitation procedures to the processing equipment. In 1999 an estimated 5,000 deaths, 325,000 hospitalizations and 76 million illnesses were caused by food borne illnesses within the US.
It’s critical that within our food service operations we take the time to review our cleaning procedures and ensure they are being performed properly. It’s not enough to assume that your employees are doing an effective job. Take the time to ensure that what you have developed for cleaning actually works. Your local Health department can be an excellent resource to help develop a cleaning program for your establishment.
One of the most effective ways to prevent a food borne illness outbreak is though proper hand washing. Wash hands thoroughly after handling raw meat. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap before and after you handle foods, especially raw meats. Food can be contaminated through improper hand washing, cross-contamination, inadequate storage, under cooking and animal waste. Bacteria from unwashed hands can contaminate foods. It is also important to wash items such as knives and cutting boards that have been in contact with raw meat before using them again to prevent bacteria from spreading. Contamination through animal waste such as insect or mice droppings can be prevented by storing food in air-tight containers and ridding the kitchen of pests. Fruits and vegetables should be washed well to remove any contaminants.
Here a link to some excellent resources:
Canadian Food Inspection Agency http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/fssae.shtml
Alberta Health Services – Food Protection