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Protection from contamination Guide

Protection from contamination Guide.

Contamination may be either physical or bacterial:

- Generally bacterial contamination is likely to render foods either unfit, e.g. putrid, or injurious to health for example, bacterial toxins. A special type of contamination is cross-contamination by bacteria from one material to another. This is my example to explained.

- Physical contamination with foreign objects or chemicals will usually result in it being unreasonable to expect the food to be consumed in that state.
In addition, physical damage to foods or their containers can result in contamination. If cans or vacuum packs become punctured the food inside will rapidly deteriorate.

Legal requirement:

- All food which is handled, stored, packaged, displayed and transported, shall be protected against any contamination likely to render the
food unfit for human consumption, injurious to health or contaminated in such a way that it would be unreasonable to expect it to be consumed in that state. In particular, food must be so placed and / or protected as to minimise any risk of contamination.

- Hazardous and/or inedible substances, including animal feedstuffs, shall be adequately labelled and stored in separate and secure containers.

Guide to Compliance:

- Avoidance of contamination requires constant attention but methods employed will vary depending on the nature of the product. High risk, open foods are particularly susceptible and special care must be taken with these.
Such foods must be physically protected e.g. by placing them in containers, covering them and/or by placing them where foreign objects can not drop on to them.
Raw and cooked foods must be stored apart or covered with suitable wrappings.
Separate utensils must if possible be used for raw and cooked foods. Where separate equipment such as slicers cannot be provided, it must be thoroughly washed and disinfected between use on raw and cooked foods.
Hazardous materials such as cleaning chemicals or lubricants must be stored away from food to avoid accidental contamination or taint. Containers must be clearly labelled. Do not use food containers to store hazardous materials.

Advice on good practice:

- Open foods or foods not in imper- vious packing should not be placed on the floor.
Physical dividers should be used between raw and cooked foods in any shared display cabinet. Raw meat, fish and poultry should be kept in containers to avoid spillage of juices etc. and must be placed below ready to eat foods in refrigeration.

- Separate refrigerators for raw and cooked foods should be used. The use of colour coded knives, chopping boards etc. should be used. Separate equipment for raw and cooked foods is recommended. Containers should be sealed. If or iginal packaging is not used, any new containers should be properly labelled with the contents and safety/ usage instructions.

Cross Contamination:

- Bacteria cannot move by themselves but are transferred from the source of the bacteria to foods either directly or indirectly.
Directly, requires the source of the bacteria to be in actual contact with the food. An example of direct contamination is when cooked meats are touching raw sausage or other meat whilst on display because there is not a physical divider between them. Another example is when raw meat is stored above ready to eat food, in a refrigerator.
Juices from the raw meat containing food poisoning bacteria could accidentally drip onto the food stored below.
Indirectly, relies on an intermediary or vehicle to transfer the bacteria. The following items may be considered as possible vehicles of indirect cross contamination: slicers, knives, tongs, cutting boards, cleaning cloths, scales, spoons, hands, trays, preparation surfaces and insects. If any of these items come into contact with raw foods and then come into contact with ready to eat foods then they have become vehicles of cross contamination for the bacteria.

An example of how bacteria may be transferred indirectly is as follows:

- Raw product handled - Hands wiped on cloth - Knife wiped with cloth - Knife used to cut cooked meat.