11. Basic Precautions

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Each employee that works in the food service area plays a key part in preventing foodborne illness.  It is important that these staff members are in good health and practice proper hygiene. There are some general guidelines to follow to insure safety in food service. An important part of your job is to protect the food you prepare and to stop harmful organisms from spreading. You have a responsibility to provide food that is not only healthy and delicious but is also safe to eat.

Food Safety Concerns You!
Everyone shops for, prepares, and eats food. That’s why it’s so important to follow the basics of food safety. Harmful bacteria that may be present in food can cause foodborne illness when the food is eaten. All along the food chain, food safety experts are working to keep our food safe on the farm … through the processing plant … during transportation … and at the supermarket and restaurant (see the Farm-to-Table illustration on the previous page). Once you take food home from the supermarket and restaurant, you also have an important role to play.

Foodborne illness can affect anyone at any time, but certain people are more likely to get sick from foodborne bacteria. And once they’re sick, they face the risk of serious health problems, even death. Such at-risk people include: pregnant women, young children, people with chronic illnesses and weakened immune systems, and older adults. Also, underlying illnesses such as diabetes, some cancer treatments, and kidney disease may increase a person’s risk of foodborne illness.
To fight bacteria that cause foodborne illness, just follow these 4 Steps to Food Safety known as the 4 Cs of Food Safety:
• Clean.
• Cook.
• Separate (Combat Cross-Contamination).
• Chill .
A few simple precautions can reduce the risk of foodborne diseases.

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