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Food Contamination

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  • April 21, 2004
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Food Contamination

Food safety is a major problem in many restaurants throughout the US. Many restaurants let the employees show up dirty or sick and then still let them cook food for the guests. This major problem has caused many cases of food poisoning, illness, and even a few cases of death. The major factors that cause food to become contaminated are; employees that have poor personal hygiene or don't wash their hands after using the restroom or smoking, cross-contamination of meats and vegetables, and improper cooking techniques which include thawing food improperly, not cooking food to the proper temperatures and serving the food incorrectly. Many of these problems with food safety can be resolved if the restaurants and employees follow some basic food safety rules.

First, employees can't be dirty when they show up for work. The employees must take a shower daily, properly trim and clean fingernails, and have a clean uniform to wear to work. In addition, the employee should wash their hands before starting work, after using the restroom, after smoking, after touching hair, face, and body, and after completing any task that involves raw food. Any one of these factors and a few more can lead to contamination of food, which usually leads to a customer getting sick. When the employee washes his or her hands the must lather with soap for at least twenty seconds and rinse with warm water. Some restaurants provide gloves for workers that are handling food that is being taken directly to the customer.

Another form of poor food safety is cross-contamination. This occurs when microorganisms are transferred from one food surface to another. This normally occurs when raw food is placed where ready-to-eat food is stored. The most common forms of bacteria and viruses that are produced from cross-contamination are E. coli, salmonella, and hepatitis A. E. coli is primarily involved in raw and undercooked ground beef, salmonella in poultry, meat, fish and shrimp...