Food Hazards Understand and Educating

Food Hazards Understand and Educating

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What is Food?

Food is the basic need of people and more precisely we can say that save and sound food is the basic need of people. We know that statistically, the overall world population is approximately 8 Billion (Statistical analysis of the year 2020) and all people need food for proper growth, immunity, enhancement of metabolism, and mental stability. Let’s move to the food hazards topic in step by step.

Food Contamination

Save food, free from all types of contamination including harmful health deteriorating and death causing micro-organisms has become the need of time according to present predicaments and scenarios. In the past, people were in the habit of eating and consuming farm-fresh organic food products, but over time people indulged in a hectic and busy life and started dependency on processed and ready to cook food. This led to the enormous growth of the food processing industry. Now almost 70-80% of the total world population which is almost 5.6-6.4 billion, depends upon the processed and ready to cook food products.

food hazards

Industrialists Practices for prevention from Food Hazards

Industries hire Food Process Engineers, Food Technologists, and Chemical Engineers that have high command on different technical subjects like Heat and Mass Transfer, Material and Energy balance, Food Chemistry, Food Microbiology, Food sciences, Physical properties of food, Food quality control, and vicinity subjects. These mentioned professionals work hard to ensure the sound and safe process and product scenarios.

  • Now, Food industries, as well as food safety regulations authorities, are working day in and day out for the betterment and prosperity of people and trying their best to provide safe and sound food to people.
  • Food processing in food industries is not a child’s play and it needs many serious, technical, and scientific techniques to covert the raw material or feed into the finished product or more precisely safe finished product free from food contaminations and hazards.

Conclusively

Now, the question arises that what is food hazard?

So, let me clear all about the food hazards, their origin, types, diseases affiliated with them, their prevention, and other vicinity aspects.

Food Hazards

These are the agents that cause spoilage in food and cause food-borne illnesses among people who consume spoilage food. Food hazards harm different aspects of food commodities like they change aroma, texture, physical properties, chemical, and biological structure of food products that cause the FBI’s (Food-Borne illnesses) among consumers. There are different types of food hazards and control of all types during different stages of food from farm to fork is of great importance.

How a Food Hazard Occurs

Food hazards can introduce into the food during farming, pre-harvest, post-harvest, preliminary storage, processing, packaging, distribution, and in the retail market. That’s why dealing with the control and prevention of food hazards is important during every stage from farm to fork.

What types of hazards are associated with food?

There are basic 6 types of food hazards and these hazards are as follow:

  • Physical hazards or Extraneous materials hazards
  • Biological or microbiological food hazards
  • Chemical food hazards
  • Allergic food hazards
  • Nutritional food hazards
  • Biotechnological or novel food hazards

All these hazards can cause adverse health effects on consumers and can cause severe FBI’s (Food-Borne illnesses) so, control and prevention are of great importance and can save the lives of millions and trillions of consumers. Each type has further sub-branches and we can say technically and precisely that food hazard is a very broad term and definitely, it needs scientific, technical, and innovative solutions for its prevention and control system.

food hazards

Food-Borne Illnesses

Food-borne illnesses are infections and diseases caused by eating and consuming contaminated food commodities or beverages. Most of the food-borne illnesses are linked with micro-biological food hazards like viruses, bacteria’s, algae, fungi, and protozoa, and parasites. Food-borne diseases (FBI’s) are also caused by toxin chemicals like the presence of arsenic in water which causes contagious health effects on people.

Different physical hazards are also a source of food-borne illnesses during the processing of food in food industries. Food industries perform the sorting, grading, and cleaning processes to separate different physical and chemical contaminations and hazards.

  • There are many food-borne illnesses and all are infectious and severe and even cause death.
  • There are many symptoms of food-borne illnesses like diarrhoea (last for at least 1-7 days), flu, typhoid, nausea, joints ache, fatigue, and stomach flu.

Precautions to Avoid Food Contamination:

Precautionary measures are the only way to dodge food pathogens and other food contaminating sources.

  • Properly wash every foodstuff and ingredients, when it comes into your kitchen.
  • Food grade utensils and types of equipment should be used for food processing or cooking.
  • Use specific time-temperature relationship for cooking that kills pathogens (above 70 Celsius ).
  • Properly clean your kitchen daily and avoid entering of unprofessional in the kitchen.
  • Store foodstuffs under recommended conditions in the refrigerator.

Incubation period

There is always an incubation period between the exposure of pathogens in the human body and the appearance of symptoms. It generally ranges from 1 hour to even 1 week.

How food Hazards Counter in Achieving Food Safety

As discussed earlier, food hazards can attack food commodities at any stage so, their prevention is of great importance and needs technical and splendiferous scientific solutions. Food industries can eliminate and prevent food hazards by implementing effective and efficient FSMS (Food Safety and Management System) by ensuring food safety control mechanisms. Food industries undergo different implementations to ensure QC (Quality Control) and QA (Quality Assurance). There are different food safety and regulation authorities that are making food safety and hazard control standards for the betterment and prosperity of people.

Now, the question arises on how food processing industries can eliminate food hazards?

food hazards

Guidelines for food processing industries to eliminate food hazards:

  • Implement a time and temperature control system (TCS) while cooking.
  • Implement a proper hygiene management system.
  • Wear proper and recommended dressing while you are in the production area.
  • Don’t wear rings and a wristwatch.
  • Apply FIFO (First in and first out) technology for effective raw material handling.
  • Proper freezing and thawing.
  • Use all PPEs (Personal protective equipment).
  • Effective HACCP plan and teamwork.
  • Proper cleaning and sanitation of production areas.
  • Sterilization of all food cooking equipment.
  • Regulate all parameters of all unit operations after equal intervals.
  • Implement international food safety standards as discussed earlier.
  • Implement GMPs (Good Manufacturing practices).
  • Perform proper sanitation processes like CIP (Clean in place).
  • Effective HACCP plan with proper flow charts and process diagrams
  • Ensuring good pest management system by implementing IPM (Integrated pest management) technique.
  • Ensure GHPs (Good Hygiene Practices)
  • Ensure good laboratory practices including international product testing practices
  • Good sensory and objective sampling for effective lab testing

How to Analyze Food Hazards?

As discussed earlier, food hazards are divided into six major categories. We can analyze these food hazards with the help of different manual scientific techniques and through different analytical, sensory, and objective laboratory methods.

How to Analyze Physical Hazards?

There are many physical hazards associated with raw materials like mirror pieces, husk, wooden pieces, plastic waste materials, metal fragments, human hair, nails, stones, and the sliver of glass. Food processing industries can eliminate these hazards from food by the “Sorting” and “Grading” technique.

In sorting, food professionals separate the above-mentioned physical hazards from raw commodities by different techniques. Some techniques are as follow:

1. Aspiration technique

which based on gravity aspects (Use for separation of undesirable solid particles from solid food commodities like wheat, rice, cereals, pulses, legumes under the action of gravity).

2. Electromagnetic separation

This is based on the separation of metal fragments with the help of a magnet from the food commodities.

3. Sieve Analysis

This is based on the separation of course particles from solid food commodities with the help of sieves with specific mess number.

food hazards

How to Analyze Chemical Hazards?

There are many chemical hazards associated with food products and more precisely we can say that chemical hazards are associated mostly with raw food commodities. Raw materials are prepared in agriculture fields from where they are being into the industry by raw material suppliers. Raw materials consist of many chemical hazards like fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, germicides, insecticides, fungicides, and even heavy dirt. These chemical hazards are removed by the following processes: 

1. Rotating drum cleaning

This deals with the cleaning of raw food to prevent different chemical hazards as mentioned earlier with the help of water. Food commodity rotates in the structure of the circular sieves which is immersed in deep water.

2. Spray cleaning

This deals with the cleaning of food by setting the nozzles over the conveyors.

How to Analyze Biological Hazards  

There are many biological hazards and we can eliminate them during the processing of food. Biological hazards include different micro-organisms, viruses, parasites, and other vicinity species. Some bacteria and viruses that cause the FBI’s(Food-borne illnesses) are as follow:

CampylobacterE.Coli (0157:H7)
CryptosporidiumNorovirus
Listeria MonocytogenesHAV(Hepatitis A virus)

There are many other species and all of these can be prevented or eliminated by processing methods.

1. Pasteurization

This is a process of heating the liquid food products to kill the micro-organisms, especially spore-forming bacteria like the killing of Tuberculosis bacteria in milk by the HTST process and LTLT process. There is always a time and temperature control system in pasteurization and other heating processes which are called to be as TCS.

2. Sterilization and Thermalization processes

These are also two famous and recognized food heating and biological hazards eliminating techniques.

3. Freezing

This is also a technique with the help of which we stop the further multiplication of bacteria’s by removing moisture content of food commodities.

Note : Always remember that the TCS (Time Temperature control system) is important for all heat processes.

food hazards

How to Avoid Food Hazards?

We can avoid this in industries by following the international guidelines as discussed earlier during pre-harvest, post-harvest, cold storage, raw material handling, pre-treatments like blanching, processing, packaging, distribution, and vicinity actions. All food industries should follow the guidelines that are of international recognization and importance to eliminate food safety hazards and to prevent food-borne illnesses.

All Food Process, Mechanical, Chemical, mechatronics, electrical engineers should work with a great collaboration to make an effective and efficient HACCP plan to improve the process and product streamlines for the establishment of remarkable QA and QC system and to prevent food hazards.

Types of Food Hazards

We have already discussed that 6 major types of food hazards are Physical, chemical, biological, Allergic, nutritional and biotechnological. We can say that all these hazards can destroy the structural, physical, chemical, nutritional, genetical, rheological properties of food products either in solid form or in liquid form.

Examples of the effects of food contamination and hazards on different products

  • Excessive bruising of food products
  • Browning reactions
  • Spoilage of food products having high water contents or water activity levels
  • Milk and oil rancidity and spoilage
  • Surface spoilage of fruits and vegetables
  • Water quality deterioration due to arsenic
  • High level of calcium and magnesium bicarbonates that cause water hardness
  • Presence of E. coli and HAV in water that causes liver inflammation
  • Presence of Salmonella in egg and related commodities that spoil them

In A Nutshell

To close the whole debate, in a nutshell, we can say that the elimination of food hazards at a small-scale level and on the industrial level is of great importance and we cannot neglect them.

Ensuring the food security and food safety including the implementation of food security and safety standards according to internationally recognized food security and safety agencies like FAO, FDA, WHO, USDA, and vicinities is primarily a splendiferous step to improve the quality system of industries and to eliminate food hazards to safely and soundly feed ~8 billion people globally.

All food industries should improve their QA and QC department and should focus on the amelioration of process control and hygiene management culture by implementing different standards like BRCGS, IFS, SQF, FSSC 22000, HACCP, ISO 22000, and by focusing on different quality troubleshooting amelioration tools like Six Sigma and ISO 9001. These practices improve the performance of industries and which in return improve and ameliorate the food safety system and eliminate the food hazards (Physical, chemical, biological, nutritional, allergic, and biotechnological).

Below are some of my other articles,

Food engineering – science and technology

3 types of food contamination you should know

A guide to weight loss and diet plans

How kitchen working persons contaminate food

What is food safety and how it works

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