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Positive Activities for Young People Team Leader, Luton Borough Council
Food Safety Consultancy
Food businesses now under attack from all parts of the food supply chain
If you ask most food handlers about high risk foods they will probably list the following examples:
• cooked meats and poultry
• cooked meat products including gravy, meat pies, pate, cook-chill meals and stock
• milk, cream, artificial cream and unpasteurised dairy products
• cooked eggs and egg products
• shells fish, raw oysters, mussels and cooked foods
• cooked rice
All of these foods under favourable conditions support the multiplication of harmful bacteria and are intended to be eaten without treatment that would destroy such organisms. With the exception of rice they are foods high in protein, requiring strict temperature control and protection from cross contamination.
However the picture is changing and this is probably what is catching food handlers out. Whilst a great many people still enjoy a traditional British diet that includes most of these high risk foods, others are seeking more healthy choices, particularly salads. This is resulting in foods previously not given high priority on food inspections to be the very foods that put consumers most at risk. Let’s compare the list above with the top 10 foods regulated by the FDA that are making customers sick.
• Leafy Greens, i.e. salads and other food items containing leafy greens—iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, baby leaf lettuce (immature lettuce or leafy greens), escarole, endive, spring mix, spinach, cabbage, kale, and chard.
• Potatoes, mainly in the form of potato salad
• Cheese, hard, soft, mild, sharp, melted and sliced—cheese products all implicated.
• Ice-cream mainly made up in the home or restaurant, using raw eggs.
• Tomatoes, contamination during growing.
• Sprouts, both raw and lightly cooked sprouts
• Berries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and other berry products
Looking at this newer list, it quickly becomes evident that food businesses are being attacked from all parts of the foods supply chain; not only high-risk products, like meat and dairy, but also the must-eat components of a healthy diet, like fruits and vegetables.
To combat these new threats it is important food handlers have a clear understanding of HACCP and a grasp of micro-organisms. Knowing just food safety basics learnt on level 2 courses is no longer enough to protect a business from being at the centre of a food poisoning, it is vital supervisors and managers attend level 3 courses, in both HACCP and Food Safety.
To learn more about the threat from every area of food supply and how RSA can help you combat these new threats, call RSA Environmental Health and ask for Carol or Kae. 01933 626444 or email email@example.com
Anthony Bowmer, April 2012
Why use RSA for Food Safety?
RSA Food Safety has been operating since 1997, providing food safety advice to businesses of all types and sizes, from large hotels to small coffee shops and from food manufacturers to cruise ships. We are experienced across all sectors. We only use fully qualified and experienced Environmental Health Practitioners and Food Safety Consultants to provide you with the best advice available. In addition, because our services are tailored to exactly match what you require, we ensure that we are as cost-effective as possible.
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