Waiter, There’s A Fly In My Soup
In the beginning, there was NASA. Their astronauts required crumb- and bacteria-free foods with which to maintain maximum health in space. Pillsbury came to the rescue using the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, or HACCP method of answering these needs. This method is now required material for any food establishment practicing food safety and hygiene. This very basic method of preparing foods has given birth to packaging, cooking methods and even ingredients used in preparation of foods in hospitals, foods for the elderly and babies, and even foods for sale to the general public.
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Fast forward to today. Proper food hygiene has reached worship status, in that foods in storage have to be six inches off the floor, backwash from the sink drains have to be six inches from the drains, in addition to cross-contamination methods being strictly overseen. Companies have checklists posted to which employees adhere. Health inspectors rigidly enforce these points or an establishment gets shut down. All this in the name of food safety.
A Word About Temperature
Bacteria flourish in conditions under which food is stored between 42 degrees and 83 degrees. A tight eye has to be kept, with the aid of thermometers, on temperatures to be sure of proper food hygiene. Lids on the make line in restaurants are kept closed when not in use as well as doors to the coolers kept closed to prevent temperatures from rising. Bacteria cannot live under those conditions, giving patrons safely prepared foods to eat.
Hand-washing, glove-wearing food preparation personnel who have no runny noses nor coughs to contaminate the food is all well and good. On the other hand, when insects and rodents are not noticed so they don’t get controlled, food-borne illness happens to consumers. Food preparation establishments who keep the stainless steel tables perfectly clean and sanitized can lose it all if they don’t see the mouse or the roach. Pest control in food establishments is state law in many states, but it only takes one tiny intruder to make someone sick.
Since the inception of the worthy programs NASA undertook to keep our astronauts safe and healthy, food preparation facilities, restaurants and food wagons have all gotten with the program. Premises liability comes in when a portion of the program fails. Chopping green peppers with a knife not properly washed nor sanitized after chopping raw chicken can pass on a food-borne illness from cross-contamination. It can also follow a rise in temperature of stored foods.
E. Coli, salmonella and reactions caused by undercooked foods, such as eggs and poultry, can send folks to the hospital. Health departments and lawyers get involved. Nor is this legal advice, but understanding safe food preparation.