A food safety hazard is something that is dangerous and likely to cause harm to food. As a food handler, it is your legal responsibility to understand about food safety hazards You can do this by obtaining a food safety certificate
Understanding the key risks which lead to food contamination and applying safe handling practices will help prevent a food safety hazard in your workplace. Completing your food handling certificate will ensure you have the knowledge to do so.
If you work in a high risk establishment, such as an aged care facility, be aware that special additional procedures also apply.
Food safety training will help you easily identify hazards. Food can be unsafe for a number of reasons, including:
- Chemical contamination
- Natural toxic foods
- Food allergens
- Physical contamination and
- Contamination by harmful bacteria
Did you know that many chemicals are used in the production, processing and preserving of food? Insect sprays, cleaning products and baits are all common chemicals that can cause food poisoning if used incorrectly.
Remember to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before use to remove any traces of pesticides and herbicides.
Different chemicals may need to be treated in different ways: check the labels and material safety data sheets to find out how they should be used and which safety precautions to be aware of. Always follow the instructions and ask your supervisor if you are unsure.
Store chemicals away from food or the equipment that comes into contact with food, such as utensils, benches and preparation materials.
Have you ever had to modify food production to cater for a food allergy? Food safety training will ensure you are prepared for this. Nuts, fish & shellfish, wheat, egg, dairy and soy account for the majority of food allergies which are caused by the naturally occurring chemicals in these foods, called food allergens.
Allergies are specific to each individual, with side effects ranging from mild stomach discomfort to death in extreme cases.
Symptoms may include:
- Anaphylactic shock
- Severe swelling
- Nausea, vomiting & diarrhoea
- Stomach cramps & congestion, and
- Shortness of breath
There is no cure for allergies only avoidance and being prepared for any severe reaction that may occur.
A food safety course will advise you on these and many other food handling requirements. Make sure you have your food handling certificate before applying for a job that requires one.
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