While there are plenty of food safety dangers that can reason food contamination, most autumn into among three categories: biological, physics or chemical contamination.


It"s important to know what the potential hazards are as soon as it pertains to food, especially if you are preparing or offer food because that someone else. Once you know how food can come to be contaminated, you have the right to take steps to stop it.Food-borne illness and also its business-destroying cousin, a food-borne illness outbreak, are caused through food contamination. Food pollution refers to when something gets into food the shouldn"t be there, thereby making the food unsafe come eat.While there are many food safety hazards that can cause food contamination, most fall into one of three categories: biological, physics or chemistry contamination. In plenty of cases, a single hazard deserve to introduce much more than one kind of contamination to food.

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Types the food contamination


Biological pollution occurs once food i do not care contaminated by life organisms or the substances lock produce. This includes organic matter developed by humans, rodents, insects and microorganisms. Organic contamination is the leading reason of food-borne illness and also food poisoning*, and a common reason of food spoilage and also food waste. There space six species of microorganisms the can cause food-borne illness: bacteria, viruses, parasites, protozoa, fungi and prions.Most food-borne illnesses in Canada are resulted in by bacteria or viruses, v the most common being:

NorovirusListeriaSalmonellaE. ColiCampylobacter

Food-borne disease occurs once disease-causing microorganisms, additionally called pathogens, get into food and also multiply come unsafe levels prior to being eaten. This can occur remarkably quickly; in problems ideal for bacterial growth, one single-cell bacteria can end up being two million in simply seven hours.Bacteria and also other pathogens prosper in foods items that are:

moisthigh in protein or starchneutral in acidity

Foods that meet these criteria are dubbed potentially hazardous or high-risk foods. Every high-risk foods items are teeming v pathogens and other bacteria; the is your duty to protect against bacteria from multiplying to unsafe levels and, where possible, to ruin them via the cooking process.To slow down the growth of bacteria and prevent food safety risks, you must follow food safety best practices draft to control bacterial growth through suitable food handling techniques, rigorous cleaning and sanitizing procedures and time and also temperature regulate of food.Food poisoning wake up when specific toxins are consumed, such as those created by Salmonella, Staphylococcus or Listeria; microbial toxins are incredibly potent toxins that can disable the immune system and also damage tissues if they space consumed. Numerous microbial toxins are heat-resistant, so even if bacteria are destroyed in the food preparation process, the toxins remain in the food and can reason violent, almost-instantaneous symptoms.To minimize the risk of organic food contamination arising in her food business, always:

keep high-risk foodstuffs (e.g. Meat, poultry, dairy, eggs) the end of the Temperature hazard Zone**purchase, store, thaw, prepare, cook and serve high-risk foodstuffs properlyregularly clean and sanitize all food call surfaces and also equipmentmaintain an excellent overall hygiene and also sanitation the the premisesmaintain high standards of personal hygiene (and ensure every employees carry out the same)

*The state “food-borne illness” and also “food poisoning” differ slightly in meaning but are often used interchangeably to describe any food-related illness caused by microbe or their byproducts. **In Manitoba, the Temperature danger Zone is 5°C – 60°C (41°F – 140°F). In all various other provinces and also territories in Canada, that is 4°C – 60°C (40°F – 140°F).


Physical air pollution occurs once a physical object enters food at some phase of the production or ready process. Physical objects in food deserve to be a choking hazard and also often introduce biological contaminants as well. Also if the thing is not most likely to injure her customer, finding things in your food can be an extremely distressing for a customer (who knows the harmful microbe on the object could make lock ill).Common examples of physical contaminants in food businesses include:

hairfingernailsbandagesjewellerybroken glass, staplesplastic wrap/packagingdirt indigenous unwashed fruit and also vegetablespests/pest droppings/rodent hair

To minimize the danger of physics food contamination emerging in your food business, always:

wear hair nicely tied earlier or wear a hair/beard netkeep jewellery come a minimumwhen necessary, stay brightly coloured bandages that can be quickly seen if they loss offthrow out and replace cracked, chipped or broken dishware, glassware and equipmentuse a plastic or steel scoop for ice (never usage the glass!)wash fruits and also vegetables thoroughlyestablish insect prevention and control actions as part of your Food security Plan


Chemical pollution occurs as soon as food come into contact with or produces toxicity chemicals, which can lead to chemistry food poisoning. Chemistry contaminants loss into one of two categories: natural and artificial.Common chemistry contaminants include:

cleaning products (e.g. Detergent, sanitizer)pesticides/herbicidestoxic chemistry in metals and plasticpreservativesnaturally occurring toxins

Naturally emerging toxins room toxic compounds that are produced by living organisms, some of which room staples the the human diet (e.g. Shellfish, potatoes, fish). This toxins room not harmful to the organisms themselves however can it is in harmful to us if us eat them.Minimal contamination with herbal toxins might not lead to illness, however Food Handlers have to be mindful of i beg your pardon foods create toxins and take every reasonable precautions to ensure the food is safe for consumption. Potatoes, because that example, create glycoalkaloids that room toxic come humans. The bulk of this toxins are contained in or simply under the peel, and in any eyes or sprouts ~ above the potato. Eco-friendly skin deserve to indicate the presence of toxins, so be certain to remove any type of eyes, sprouts or environment-friendly skin if you decide to use potatoes that have actually greened or sprouted.There are countless ways that food can end up being contaminated by artificial/synthetic chemicals in a advertising kitchen. Food Handlers deserve to accidentally cause chemical air pollution if they:

don"t save cleaning products and other chemicals properlyuse too much detergent or sanitizer come clean food preparation surfaces, glassware, bowl or cutlery (follow the manufacturer"s instructions!)don"t rinse surfaces, glassware, bowl or cutlery appropriately after cleaning and sanitizing (if applicable)don"t effectively wash fruits and vegetables to remove pesticidesuse kitchen tools or containers make from materials that are not an ideal for food or no designed to be reused (use just food-grade plastic and also metals)use pest control commodities (e.g. Spray, poisonous bait) improperly

To minimize the risk of chemistry contamination emerging in your food business, always:

label and store chemicals separately from fooduse the ideal chemical because that the task you"re doingfollow the chemical manufacturer"s instructions with regards come dilution, contact time and water temperatureuse chemical insect control assets with extreme treatment or outsource pest eradication to a professional pest control service


Cross-contamination is the accidental transfer the contaminants native one surface ar or substance to another, commonly as a result of improper handling procedures. In a food setting, the term refers to the move of contaminants indigenous a surface, object or person to food. Cross-contamination usually refers to organic contamination however can also be physical or chemical.

Cross-contamination in a food company often occurs as a result of:

Food Handlers (e.g. Microorganisms from sweat, sneezing/coughing, hands, hair, clothing)improper food handling techniques (e.g. Reusing cutting boards or tools for raw and cooked food or for different types of food)improper cleaning and sanitizing (e.g. Not effectively rinsing clean chemicals indigenous preparation surfaces, dishware, glassware or equipment)improper food storage (e.g. Storing life meat top top shelves above ready-to-eat food)improper waste handle (e.g. Allowing garbage containers to overflow)pests

Cross-contamination can likewise pose a risk to customers v food allergies, together trace quantities of an allergen can be transferred in the same means that microbe can. Even trace amounts of one allergen can reason a serious allergic reaction — in part cases, a lethal reaction. Together a food organization owner, manager or employee, that is your duty to serve customers a safe meal, including customers with food allergies.To minimize the danger of cross-contamination emerging in your food business, always:

move roughly the organization in accordance with the Food Safety setup (e.g. Readjust soiled kitchen clothing before moving from life food to ready-to-eat prep stations)cover and store raw food on shelves below cooked or ready-to-eat food in the refrigeratoruse separate tools or utensils to prepare raw and also cooked foodsuse separate devices or utensils to prepare different species of foodsprepare allergen-free meals separatelyestablish allergen management procedures as part of her Food safety Planmaintain high standards of an individual hygienehandle and dispose the food scraps and waste effectively (e.g. Ensure garbage containers room sealed and also stored far from food)

Pests deserve a special mention in this regard, together they are notorious sources the cross-contamination in food businesses. Rodents, flies and also cockroaches bring untold number of disease-causing bacteria and also other pathogens on their bodies, in your droppings and in urine and saliva, including Salmonella, E. Coli and also Listeria.As such, insect prevention and also control is vitally important in the workplace. Download the CIFS overview to pest Prevention and also Control to uncover out an ext about the risks that usual pests pose come a food business, exactly how to avoid pests indigenous entering your business and what to perform if they acquire in.

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The best method to stop food air pollution in her business

The food safety finest practices provided above are by no method an exhaustive list of whatever you have to do to prevent food contamination and its aftermath in the food business you own, control or job-related in.Everyone who works with food has a legal obligation to take every reasonable procedures to safeguard the publicly you serve from health threats like food-borne illness and food allergies. It"s also in your best interest to execute so, since your income is tied directly to the success that the business.The best method to prevent food contamination and ensure food security is with education and also training. Fully trained Food Handlers understand what they need to do to regulate food security hazards and also understand that there are consequences, because that everyone, to taking shortcuts when it concerns food safety.The Canadian academy of Food safety (CIFS) provides online training, continuing education and resources to hundreds of Canadian food workers as component of ours mission to mitigate food-borne illness and other food safety dangers in Canada.