Hygiene and Sanitization in Food Sector
Maintaining safety and quality is essential in the entire chain of food products ranging from primary food production at the level of farmers, primary food processing at the farm, dairy, abattoir, and grain mills etc. Secondary food processing level such as canning, freezing, drying, and brewing, food distributors at the national and international level of import/export, food
retailing and catering and also domestic food preparation.
Safe food is food which is free of contaminants and will not cause illness or harm. Our food is devitalized, colored, filled with chemicals, drugs and synthetic ingredients, polluted by agricultural and environmental chemicals and are grown on impoverished land puffed up by chemical fertilizers. Moreover, the chemicals used are known to cause adverse effects in
humans and animals. Therefore all individuals involved in food handling should be trained in handling food safety. It is necessary to create and maintain hygienic and sanitary conditions to safeguard the food.
• Protecting food from risk of contamination, i.e. preventing objectionable matter getting into food, including harmful bacteria, poisons, and foreign bodies.
• Preventing any bacteria present multiplying to a level which would result in the illness of consumers or the early spoilage of food.
• Destroying any harmful bacteria in the food by thorough cooking, processing or irradiation; and
• Discarding unfit or contaminated food.
Sanitary practices and hygienic conditions are becoming more and more important because food is being processed, prepared and sold in larger volumes than before. Some microorganism causes food spoilage and foodborne diseases, but others are beneficial n food processing and preparation. Sanitation can reduce the growth of microorganisms on equipment and dirt on
the food. This can reduce contamination of food by microorganisms that cause foodborne diseases and food spoilage. Sanitary principles also apply to waste disposal and can help reduce pollution and improve ecological balance.
Table of Contents
In catering, hygiene and sanitation play a vital role in promoting and protecting the health and wellbeing of hundreds of people. The foods, materials, and equipment are subject to constant handling by people at every stage of food production and service. Thus it is the duty of every caterer to ensure that personal hygiene becomes a habit of all food handlers.
All food handlers reporting for duty must be fresh, well-groomed and clean.
Few points for personal hygiene that food handlers must follow:
1. Bathing: Workers must bathe daily (even twice) as body odor is offensive and skin is the main breeding ground for bacteria. Head bath again twice a week.
2. Hair: Wearing of clean headgear to be encouraged to prevent hair from falling in food, prevent from touching their scalp and also prevent long hair from getting entangled in machinery.
3. Teeth and Mouth: Teeth to be brushed thoroughly twice a day with a moderately hard brush – first thing in the morning and after dinner.
4. Hands: Hands are in direct contact with food, so can transfer bacteria and cause illness. To prevent this, hands should be washed:
• Before beginning work and after a break.
• After eating or smoking.
• After using the toilet.
• After touching infected or unsanitary areas of the body or combing hair or using mobile phones.
• After using a handkerchief, sneezing or coughing into the hands.
• After handling raw foods, especially meat, fish and poultry.
• After handling waste food or refuse.
• Whenever they are dirty.
Hands should be washed thoroughly with plenty of soap and water – preferably rinsed in running water or water stored in clean covered containers with a tap fixed on them. If soap cakes are used, they should be kept dry. Liquid soap is more hygienic and
economical to use. Hands must be thoroughly dried by using a roller towel, disposable paper, towels or a hot air dryer. Exposed wounds, cuts, burns can harbor bacteria. They need to be covered with a waterproof dressing. Pus formation, inflammation indicates infection. Such people should not be allowed to handle food for some time.
5. Finger Nails: Nails should be trimmed as they harbor germs and can also chip and fall in the food and kept clean. Nail polish used should not be allowed.
6. Feet and Footwear: Feet should be washed and kept clean. Always wear socks with shoes to keep away dirt and perspiration. Shoes should form a part of the uniform, sturdy, well-fitting, and well-polished, with a low heel.
7. Jewelry: Food handlers should not wear any jewelry as they tend to harbor bacteria and small parts may sometimes drop food into food.
8. Reporting Illness: If the food handler feels unwell he/she should report it to his or her supervisor. Such food handlers should be excluded from work until medical clearance is taken.
Habits to be avoided
• Washing hands in sinks used for food preparation. In case there is no separate
•All catering staff should need to be periodically put through a medical check-up to ensure that
they are not suffering from worms, T.B, skin or other infections. People with colds, sore throat,
boils, and diarrhea should not handle food.
Food Safety in Kitchens
Food hygiene may be defined as the sanitary science which aims to produce food which is safe
for the consumer and is of good keeping quality.
1. Procurement of raw material: Freshness, quality, quality of packaged food products (e.g. Appearance, temperature, packaging and pack seals are intact).
2. Storage of Raw Materials: Storage areas (temperatures, products should be completely covered, FIFO ( first in first out) & FEFO (first expired first Out), 6” above the ground, veg & non-veg to be kept separate, all products with the label of expiry date, delivery date, cold storage at 5°C or below for chillers and -18°C for freezers.
3. Preparation of raw material :
a. General – Use of only potable water from a safe source, clean work area, equipment, product cover after preparation/cooking.
b. Sieving/sorting or cleaning – use potable water, uncooked, ready to eat – fruits and vegetables are disinfected with 50ppm chlorinated water before cutting, peeling or serving. Do not reuse this chlorinated water for other purposes.
4. Cooking/Processing: Temp. of cooked food should reach 70°C, cooking in hygienic area, wash basin in the kitchen (e.g. In a Dhaba or kiosk), then put a small tap outside and segregate it. Tasting food with fingers or with the same spoon: is the most unhygienic thing to do. Leaving cooked food uncovered for a long time. Blowing air from the mouth over the hot food.
separate equipment and utensils for a vegetarian and non-vegetarian product, potable water, frying oil/fat should be changed immediately when there is color change, foiling, syrupiness scum formation, ice should be prepared from potable water.
5. Storage of cooked food: Cooked food should be stored covered and at an appropriate temperature, cold foods at 5°C or below hot foods at 60°C or above. Veg & non-veg products should be stored separately and properly labeled with day and date of preparation, salads, garnishes or ready to eat foods are immediately stored in clean covered containers and refrigerated.
6. Preparation of cooked food before serving: Cold foods are served cold, hot foods hot (up to 70°C), and cooked food is not left at room temp. For more than 2 hours, surplus food is discarded and not mixed up with freshly prepared food; transported cooked food is consumed/used within 4 hours of its arrival.
7. Serving of Cooked Food: Use clean & intact utensils/ one time use disposables, clean and non-toxic material is used for packing food. Printed paper is not used for wrapping. All tables and food serving counters are to be kept clean, use spatula/spoon/hand gloves etc. for serving and not with bare hands.
8. Storage of surplus food: surplus food is consumed before expiry/use by date, surplus foods are stored in the refrigerator, surplus food is discarded, perishable products are consumed immediately. Canned products once opened should be transferred in the suitable covered containers and kept refrigerated.
9. Quality of water & ice: Municipal water supply should be used as it is safely treated in the water plant, ice should be handled hygienically with clean scoops.
10. Utensils & Equipment: Equipment cleaning and hygiene of establishment, surrounding/ environment, good lighting facility, pest control, insect electrocuting device (IED) on the entrance of Kitchens, Air screens, maintenance & cleaning. Last but not the least personal hygiene.
Safety in Storage of Food
Foods should be stored in the right way so that they do not become hazardous to health and their quality does not deteriorate.
There are two kinds of storages:
1. Dry Storage Rooms: (For Dry Ingredients)
Meant for non-perishable foods like cereals, pulses, legumes, sugars, spices, fats and oils, packaged and canned foods; and for semi – perishables like under ripe fruits and vegetables, potatoes and onions, bread and eggs. Temperature conditions – 20-25°C (room temperature). If the outside temperatures are too high, then the store temperatures have to be brought down by air cooling the store.The storage should be dry cool well ventilated and free from infestation to maintain quality of food. Good ventilation will counteract the effort of humidity and high temperature.
• While most non-perishables can be stored together in a storeroom, some semi – perishables require separate ventilated storage facilities, slightly cooler than the rest of the store.
• Foods which need to be held only for 2-3 days require a temperature of 10- 15.5°C. Like breads, bakery products.
• If space allows, fats and oils should be stored away from the rest of the food.
• As far as possible, the non-perishables should be stored in air tight covered bins, cartons, polythene packs and cans.
• Transparent glass jars may be used for pulses and spices.
• Eggs may be kept in cardboard trays and cartons and consumed in 2-3 days.
• Cleaning supplies which include detergents, brushes, mops, and antiseptic solutions should be stored in separate section.
• Trash is always stored away from the store.
In a small food joint, like coffee shops or kiosks, the dry store may have to provide space for storing all types of commodities. In such a case, care should be taken to ensure that food, equipment and detergents are placed in separate cabinets or
shelves (detergent may be added instead of salt)
2. Low Temperature Storage:
The principle is to maintain temperatures at levels which will inhibit the growth of micro-organisms, and thus preserving food. Perishable foods have a high content of moisture, providing suitable humidity for microbes to thrive and for spoilage to occur.
They are two types:a. Refrigerated Storage Temperatures between 0 – 10 deg. Celsius.
This is necessary for perishables like milk and milk products, leftovers of cooked food,fermented batters, dough’s, green vegetables and fruits.All foods must be kept covered.
b. Freezer Storage
Freezer storage may be in the form of a free standing cabinet or a separate cabinet in the refrigerator where the temperature is maintained from -20 to 0 deg. Celsius. All meat/fish/poultry, frozen veggies, ice-creams etc. require frozen conditions.For successful freezing, it is necessary to blanch foods, cool quickly to freezing temperatures and pack in air tight containers and packets. A food removed from the freezer, thawed for use, must never be put back in the freezer as this increases the microbes manifold and make the food unsafe.
Sanitation and Safety of Stores
•Dry food stores should be fly proofed. Wire meshing of doors and windows to be done. Use of insect electrocuting device at the entry.
• Walls to be treated with insecticide sprays which leave insecticidal films on walls – remain effective for 2 – 3 months.
• While white – washing D.D.T or Lindane may be mixed with the white was to make the surface insect repellent.
• All stores to be guarded against pests like rodents, cockroaches, flies to safeguard both staff and consumers against infested and contaminated food.The store supervisor should:a. Maintain cleanliness.
b. Use poisoned baits or traps for rats (Zinc Phosphide, Warfarin, are effective rat poisons)
c. All openings to be sealed – open drains, gaps in doors, around water pipes.
d. Cockroaches hide in dark nooks and corners. All cracks and crevices to be sealed.
e. Personal Hygiene should be maintained by staff.