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Level 2 Food Safety Introduction Part 1

Posted by Andrew Libberton on January 12, 2012  |   No Comments »

We all want to be fit and healthy. However food, one of the key contributors to our health and wellbeing, can if not treated carefully result in serious illness, perninanet disability and often death. Someone dies, virtually every day in the UK from from food borne illnesses, whilst many more are made seriously ill. Food Safety has never been more important. Food can become dangerous to eat in a number of ways and some of the common ones are:

Dangerous bacteria may find their way onto ready to eat foods. High protein foods, which contain water and are stored at room temperature (warm) can provide a fertile breeding ground for such bacteria and allow them to multiply into millions in very short time periods (typically low number of hours). When consumed these, millions of  bacteria release poisonous chemicals (toxins) into the body which cause sickness and diarrhoea (other symptoms include stomach ache, nausea and fever). Often bacteria are present on which do need to multiply on the food to cause illness. In such cases the food does not need storage under warm conditions to cause illness as these bacteria are capable of growing and multiply to dangerous levels with our bodies. Not all bacteria are harmful – many are useful – e.g. bacteria are used to make yoghurt, cheese and they also help us to digest food.

Baacteria are part of a group of living organisms called microorganisms. Moulds are another type of microorganism and some moulds are capable of producing seroius illness such as organ damage and cancer. Dangerous moulds can be found in a variety of places eg on nuts (normally when they have been stored in damp conditions), bruised fruit (e.g. apples). Government checks on imported foods and proper storage are the key way of preventing illness from moulds.

Poisonous plants can cause food poisoning if they are incorrectly harvested as food or allowed to contaminate wholesome food (e.g. poisonous mushrooms).

Certain fish can also make people  ill e.g. shell fish can be poisonous if they have fed of human sewage or water containing tiny organisms (called diflagenates).

Yet another way of rendering food unsafe is by contaminating it with chemicals, e.g. by the excive use of pesticides or the use of non approved pesticides.

Certain metals can cause food to become poisonous, e.g. mercury, lead and copper. So care must be taken if using copper cooking utensils and lead water pipes should be avoided.

Sometimes foods which can be eaten safely at low levels can be dangerous if eaten at high levels e.g. salt and nutmeg.

So there is a wide range of things that can contaminate food and we need to do all we can to keep them safe. That is what the  level 2 Food Safety is all about.

Have you any interesting stories relating to how food has become contaminated – if so please send them to me or put them on the blog. If you need anymore information or want claification on any of the above please contact me on andrewlibberton@bactrol.co.uk



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