Food contamination refers to food that has been corrupted with another substance – either physical, biological or chemical.
Their are 3 types of contamination
- Biological contamination
- Chemical contamination
- Physical contamination
Biological or Microbiological Contaminants
The main ones are bacteria, viruses & parasites. If parasites are big enough, they can actually be seen. Viruses are smaller than bacteria. Bacteria are the main causes of food poisoning and there are good and bad bacteria.
Other microbiological contaminants are,
- Spoilage bacteria
Some bacteria are needed to produce some food, such as Lactobacillus. Others such as Penicillin, are used for Stilton cheese and also for medicine. Antibiotics are also bacteria.
We will focus on the harmful bacteria, also called pathogenic bacteria or pathogens. Viruses can cause food borne illness and the difference to bacteria is that they can multiply in the human body using the cells of the human, a host cell, as they cannot multiply on their own. Bacteria can multiply on their own through binary fission.
Sources of biological contamination
- Raw food
- Air & Dust
- Food waste
Chemical Contaminants or Allergens
Chemical contaminats can be detergents, disinfectants and pesticides.
Pesticides are used on fruits and vegetables to keep insects etc… away and a thorough washing of fruits and vegetables is very important. Aluminium pots are generally not used any more, as the chemical can transfer into the food. Never use acidic foods on these materials, as a chemical reaction between the chemical and acid can occur and cause chemical poisoning.
Sources of chemical contamination
- Pesticides, Preservatives and mould inhibitors
- Veterinary drugs
- Cleaning chemicals
- Food additives
- Perfume and scented soap
- Chemical reaction between metal and acidic food
- Machine oils
Physical contaminants are varied and can be hair, glass splinters, wood, nails, buttons from a jacket, paint, etc…
This can cause bad injuries to your guests and need to be controlled.
Sometimes physical contamination can also be a microbiological contamination, for example we can take hair. The hair contains also bacteria or a ring, which is physical but also microbiological, as bacteria nests under the ring. Good personal hygiene is very important here, as well as good equipment maintenance to ensure that nothing is loose and could fall into food.
Sources of physical contamination
- Packaging materials
- Machinery & Equipment
- Raw materials
- Cow’s milk.
- Puffer fish.
- Sesame seeds.
(please refer ”Food Allergy” note for more information)
What is cross contamination?
Cross contamination is the ”transfer of harmful bacteria or viruses onto food, from contaminated surfaces, hands, equipment or other food such as raw meat”.
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02/05/2020 foodieson.com by @cheflakey