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asian-1239272_1920Food makes the holidays more festive. At this time of year you enjoy family dinners, church potlucks, office parties, buffet lunches, cookie exchanges, and cups of cheer. Gifts are exchanged, too, and food poisoning is the “gift” you don’t want.

Though it’s relatively rare in the US, food poisoning can happen to anyone, according to MedlinePlus. That doesn’t mean much if you’re the one who gets it. You may get food poisoning at home or while traveling. Each year 60-80 million (that’s MILLION) people around the globe get food poisoning.

If you’ve had food poisoning you know it’s awful, so awful you thought you were going to die. Some people do die. The FDA says food poisoning is especially threatening to kids five years old and younger, and the elderly. E.coli can cause hemolyptic uremic syndrome, which can lead to kidney damage and, in some cases, death.

The symptoms of food poisoning are nasty: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headaches, and weakness. Food poisoning strikes within two-to-four hours after eating contaminated food and it can last as long as 10 days. Prevetion is the best defense against food poisoning.

Mayo Clinic, in an Internet article called “Serve it Up Safe: 8 Ways to Prevent Food-Bourne Illness,” lists some prevention tips, such as washing linens often and washing equipment, including your meat thermometer, in hot, soapy water. To be in the safe side, the article says you should reheat leftovers to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Practice safe food handling during the holidays. Unsure about what to do? The USDA Food and Safety Inspection Service has published a colorful booklet called “Cooking for Groups.” You’ll find the booklet on www.FoodSafety.gov. You’ll find additional information on www.fightingbac.org. And follow these tips to keep your tummy safe during the holidays.

AT HOME

1. Wash your hands well before handling food.

2. Use paper or cloth dishcloths, not sponges.

4. Separate raw foods from ready-to-eat foods.

5. Store washed produce in a different container, not the original.

6. Keep cold foods at 40 degrees or less.

7. Keep hot foods at 140 degrees or more.

8. Double-bag leaking meat and poultry packages or seal them in plastic wrap.

9. Thaw meat and poultry in the refrigerator, not on the counter.

10. NEVER eat frozen meat, poultry or fish that has been thawed and refrozen.

11. Check internal temperature of meat and poultry with a thermometer.

12. Use a clean spoon every time you taste food.

13. Clear leftover food quickly and refrigerate.

AT WORK

1. Ask a knowledgable person to be in charge.

2. Refrigerate donated food immediately.

3. Wash hands before handling food. (Buy several bottles of hand sanitizer.)

4. Label foods so people know what they’re eating.

5. Tell people if food contains nuts or soy.

6. Serve food in small batches, not all at once.

7. Keep mayonnaise-based foods icy cold.

8. Keep hot foods really hot.

9. Don’t leave food out for more than two hours.

10. Provide clean storage containers for leftovers. Write the food and date on all containers.

11. Discard food that hasn’t been refrigerated for more than four hours.

AT A RESTAURANT

1. Check to see if food handlers are wearing plastic gloves.

2. Find out if the food handlers are handling money. (Money is often contaiminaed with human feces.)

3. Is there a cough shield over the food table?

4. Skip the salad bar if the ingredients aren’t on ice.

5. Check to see if the restaurant has a clean plate policy for additional servings of salad.

6. Don’t eat salad dressing that’s in open bowls on the table.

7. Make sure hot food is kept in warming pans, kettles, and hot plates.

8. Each dish should have its own serving spoon or fork.

9. Servers should bring buffet foods out in small batches.

10. Does the menu say all beef will be cooked to medium temperature?

11. Hamburgers should be cooked until the internal temperature is 160 degrees.

12. Write the food and date on your doggie bag/box.

“Everyone is at risk for foodbourne illness,” according to the FDA’s Food Safety Education Website. That makes food safety your business. Call the local public health department if you see unsafe food practices. And follow the FDA’s advice during the holidays: When in doubt throw it out!

Copyright 2005 by Harriet Hodgson. To learn more about her work go to http://www.harriethodgson.com/.

Harriet Hodgson has been a nonfiction writer for 27 years and is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists. Before she became a health writer she was a food writer for the former “Rochester Magazine,” in her hometown of Rochester, MN. Her 24th book, “Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief,” written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available from http://www.amazon.com. A five-star review of the book is also posted on Amazon. The book is packed with Healing Steps – 114 in all – that lead readers to their own healing path.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Harriet_Hodgson

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When visiting China or any other country with a Chinese orientated culture it can be very challenging to try some of the exotic culinary preparations on offer. People of Chinese origin eat just about anything that is a source of protein. Local delicacies may include insects, reptiles, amphibians, all types of seafood and shellfish, many types of mamals and just about anything else you can think of.

Food poisoning among adventurous western tourists is quite common simply because of the fact that they have no or little awareness of the things which a local can stomach but would be very problematic for them. The prospect of being able to come home and show family and friends pictures of yourself munching on freshly fried cockroaches may be appealing but it may also turn out to be a mistake you might regret for a very long time.

Locals may have a much higher resistance to various food toxins and allergens that you. Their immune systems may well recognize and destroy bacteria which would make you very sick. Remember, they have been exposed to these things all their lives whereas for you it is completely new.

Many good hotels will keep lists of hotels which they feel that it is safe for tourists to eat and in addition they may also have a residential general practitioner on duty or be able to call a reputable GP within a very short space of time.

A good rule of thumb when eating in Chinese restaurants is only to eat in respectable busy places. Only accept your food it it is sizzling hot and do not order anything which your stomach is not used to. Also, never accept fruit which has been peeled for you, always opt to peel it yourself. Never eat salads. In fact, there are no salads in Chinese cuisine. Is it a coincidence that they all eat their food piping hot? Food for thought!

If you do fall sick in China or South East Asia always go to a doctor who has been recommended to you by a respectable establishment. Street doctors are often not qualified by internationally recognized medical schools and may make bad mistakes in diagnosis. Also some doctors may recommend unnecessary treatment and prescribe drugs that you do not need and which may do you more harm than good. It is also most unadvised to go to traditional practitioners because many of the herbal remedies which they prescribe may be infected with mold and cause more harm than good.

Common sense is an absolute must when eating of receiving medical treatment in China. The Chinese government itself are now organizing themselves to bring in a national standards authority which will act upon identical lines to those practiced in Eu regulations and the American FDA. The Chinese government has fully accepted that to continue to operate as they have until now is contrary to the Chinese national interest and prosperity of the Chinese nation. Please, be careful what you eat in China.

animal-1238375_1920Rodents can be a nightmare for all food businesses. It seems like they appear out of nowhere and disappear into thin air at random. Or do they? Environmental hygienists tell us that in the western world we are never more than ten feet away from a rat, on average. This is quite startling news because this means that rat concentrations may be higher than ever before in history. With the reported upsurge in the levels of reported food poisoning, particularly with reference to salmonella, e. coli and lysteria, the presence of rodents must be controlled professionally within food preparation areas.

In the days when sewers ran open in the middle of the streets of all towns to see rats scurrying around everywhere was no great thing. Nowadays, many of us get very fearful when we see a rat or mouse. It may be common to see rats around farm houses in the countryside but in urban domestic environments if a rat is seen indoors emergency calls will be made to the exterminator.

Rats are not fun to have around the house. They leave the smell of their urine in places they hide and the smell is very hard to get rid of. My house was once targeted by a rat when it was being renovated and we had a real job getting rid of the thing. It decided to set up shop in a washing machine of all places. The smell coming from the washing machine was so bad that I decided to buy a new one and have the old one taken away by the trash collectors.

Like any animal species rodents need an environment upon which they can thrive. They need warmth, food, water and a place to live. Rodents are social animals and do not like to live solitary lives. This means that any environment they decide to live in must be able to support several individuals.

It is our common belief that rodents will come because a slice of bread was left out or because there were a few crumbs that spilled on the floor. This notion is not quite true. Rodents need more than just a solitary piece of food.

Food businesses can be ideal places for rodents to thrive because they can find environments suitable to support whole colonies around food outlets. By using the term environment I relate to the following. Your premises, the neighbouring premises, the drainage system, your roof, the garbage collection area, your store rooms, other store rooms in your immediate area such as bakeries, butchers, vegetable stores, the condition of housing around your business and many other possible factors. All of these elements go towards creating an environment in which rodents can thrive.

There is one thing you must know about rodents. Anywhere they can squeeze their head through they can get their whole body through in a matter of a couple of seconds. Rats will swim through a drain water to trap to squeeze through the grate of a drain. They have no problem doing this.

Highly populated areas are good environments in which to open all sorts of food businesses but they are also perfect environments for rodents. As humans we have developed the ability to control environments and the critical point about pest control in food businesses is the control of the environment around your business.

This is no short order. As I have already suggested there are many factors which contribute to the environment in which your business is situated, from the perspective of a rat or mouse. Firstly there is the question of resident rodent infestation. Is your business situated upon an existing rodent problem? It is a lot harder to get rid of rodents that have inhabited your surroundings for decades than it is to prevent the infestation of rats and mice. This is due to the fact they have the advantage of knowing the terrain like the back of their little fury hands whereas you may be new to the lay of the land.

Infrastructure includes the following areas, drains and sewers, outside walls and piping, rendering, wall cavities, areas under roofs, ovens (especially ovens with insulation), cellars, dry store rooms, trash can areas, box collection areas, vegetation around your areas including trees, neighboring businesses of all types, boxes with stored equipment especially if it is not often used, linen areas, service cupboards and toilet areas.

The places that rodents can inhabit are countless. The key to controlling the presence of rodents in your business is as I have already said to control THEIR potential environment. You must think from the rodents perspective. You must control everything that goes on both in and around your business. Another good indicator to the presence of rats is the presence of cats. Cat are another pest that will inhabit environments which can support them. More often than not they share these environments quite happily with rats. Alley cats are not good ratters because they don’t need them for food. Why should they fight a rat if they have scraps to fed off?

Controlling the environment in which your business is situated is all about a working system and having the staff to do it. Chefs and waiters must not deal in pest control. They must never contaminate themselves by cleaning contaminated areas. All responsible businesses must hire general staff to make sure the area inside and outside the area is kept spotless at all times. Chefs waiters and sore workers must also insure that areas under their direct responsibility and hygiene level are kept hygienic and tidy at all times. Any restaurant team that finishes their shift just ten minutes before going home cannot clean the business properly. At least one hour of solid cleaning is required, twice daily at least, to keep a food preparation business environments clean and controlled from a vermin aspect.

Also, pest control contractors must make fortnightly visits to appraise the vermin presence in and around your business. Likewise drain pumps must be carried out at least once a month by an authorized contracting or municipal authority.

Only when you pay attention to every detail concerning the hygienic state in around your business can you be reasonably assured that you are protecting your customers against disease which is transmitted by rodents and other pests.

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At the bottom of this article you will find a full video presentation in six parts on the subject of food hygiene.

Most of us spend a great deal of attention to cases of food poisoning outside the home. Stories of food poisoning incidents hit the news and cause a great deal of anxiety and public interest. Someone once told me that food scares in the media are a bit like stories of air crashes. Although tragic and dramatic they do not amount to many deaths compared to road accidents. The same is true for incidences of food poisoning. Most instances of food poisoning do occur in the home environment.

However it is only natural to have this  concern about food hygiene from without the home because the food we buy and bring into the home environment comes from without. It is for precisely this reason that we are naturally tuned into collecting as much information as possible about where the best sources of food are and which places to avoid.

Even if we do manage to locate excellent food sources there will always be some bacteria present on it. We can never get completely away from this fact. Bacteria are everywhere. What we are looking for is sources that have not been exposed to unnecessary sources of contamination. Taking this fact into to account, the reason for promptly storing our food becomes clear. We need to keep it as fresh as possible.

Restaurants are involved solely in the preparation of food and if they work along strict hygienic guidelines the risk of food contamination is minimal. On the other hand, the home kitchen serves many functions. If only I had a dollar for the number of times I saw muddy football boots in the kitchen sink. The multi functionality of the home kitchen allows for many different possibilities for the cross contamination of food.

The kitchen is the place where any number of family mishaps are solved and family members come to the kitchen to clean themselves when really they should be using the bathroom. Kids may have been playing with their pet rabbits or the dog and the man of the house may have been unblocking a drain. In both of these instances the family members in question may go to take a drink from the fridge without properly washing and changing clothes. We all know this happens. Any kind of contaminant could spill onto food,

Another reason for food poisoning in the home is the direct and indirect interaction between the kitchen area and animal.s By animals I mean cats, dogs, mice, rats, birds, cockroaches, ants, flies, spiders, moths and in some countries maybe lizards and geckos. All animal species carry a huge variety of bacteria on their skin and in the feces and urine. Animals should not be allowed to jump onto kitchen work surfaces or eat from human utensils. If you are working with food avoid touching animals. Food should be kept in air tight food containers to stop insects and rodents from getting at it and work surfaces must be kept spotlessly clean at all times and sterilized with an anti bacterial spray such as Lysol spray.

Not everybody cleans their fruit and vegetables before storing them but I do like to wash it with a fruit and vegetable detergent. The soil upon your produce may come from many different areas of the world and it is better to clean it off than to have exotic strains of bacteria infecting your whole fridge. The special detergents for fruit and vegetables should also remove any insecticide residue from your fruit.

A major source of food poisoning in the home is failure to clean the fridge regularly and to check the freshness of the produce within it. Your fridge is a humid environment in which air circulates. This means that bacteria and molds can spread throughout your fridge in aerosol and contaminate many different items in a very short space of time. Always check your stock for food spoilage.

Preparing barbecue food is another common source of food poisoning in the home. People often leave food in containers in hot conditions while they are cooking. This gives bacteria an opportunity to grow. Grilling raw chicken takes a very long time until it is cooked through to the bone and bacteria have ample time to proliferate throughout the food. It is always best to precook chicken drumsticks, wings and chunks and to grill them just for the added taste of the grill. Thick hot dogs and burgers are also problematic for grilling on the barbecue. It takes a very long time for the heat to penetrate throughout and more often than not people eat only partially cooked food.

Thawing meat and fish. It is absolutely amazing when one learns just how few people understand how to thaw food. In the age when we constantly want things to be ready in a flash it seems time wasting to wait a few hours for meat to thaw. The solution is generally the microwave or to thaw in hot water. Both of this areas create hot spots on the surface of the meat where bacteria can develop. Meat should be defrosted in cold water but my personal advice is to plan three days ahead and defrost meat in your fridge at four degrees Celsius and in a closed container.

Ground meat and eggs are particularly sensitive items in the home kitchen. Ground meat is animal muscle whose surface area has been greatly increased. This increase of surface area is excellent for bacterial development. if other contaminants such as unclean spices or herbs are added to it as well as raw eggs, bacteria will be provided with the ideal environment. Raw egg is another perfect culture medium for bacteria. Ground meat should not be left out for long periods. It should be mixed with the other ingredients as quickly as possible and either cooked or re refrigerated until cooking. Personally I try not to exceed twenty minutes outside of refrigerated conditions.

Failure to follow manufacturers instructions is also an area in which much food poisoning in the home. Many pre made products are not suitable for baking, especially meat products which have been breaded but not pre fried.  Always read manufacturers instructions if you are using a product for the first time. Adhere to warnings stated on packaging.

The last area of concern that I want to talk about is the cleaning of eating and cooking utensils and equipment. Wash everything in very hot water and washing up liquid. Clean all grease from ovens and ranges promptly. Store equipment in clean cupboards and replace dish cloths and dish towels after each task. Use all kitchen equipment only for the function that it was intended. Personal hygiene is the function of the bathroom not the kitchen. Train your family on how to use the kitchen correctly and the risks of food poisoning in the home will be greatly reduced.

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Below is an article which is a continuation to the tragic food poisoning events that occurred in a Greyland market stall a few days ago.

The article states that the National environmental agency is prepared to get tougher on food business that lax food hygiene standards by revoking licences to do business. What is important to remember and seems to be lacking in the content of this article is that some offences of food hygiene are blatant breeches of public trust (licences are given by autorities which represent the public interest), knowingly placing members of the public at risk , disregard for legal process and crimanal neglegence. All of these are serious crimes and, in my opinion require much sterner punishment than the mere revoking of a licence. I would like to invite you to read the article and to see it you agree with my analysis.

It is my opinion that all food businesses should keep record of all purchaces of materials used in their business and that there be penalties for buying from any supplier who is not an authorized business operator himself. I believe that the othorities of markets should be placed in charge of checking these issues and that every market should have a resident and qualified round the clock governmental food hygiene inspector. The cost of this should come out of the taxes paid by the market stall operators.

SINGAPORE: The National Environment Agency (NEA), which is responsible for issuing licences for food stalls to operate, says it is satisfied with its current system.

Giving this assurance in the light of the Geylang Serai market food poisoning incident, NEA stressed that it is prepared to get tough with enforcement if unhygienic standards become more rampant.

The NEA manages 109 hawker centres with 5,600 cooked food stalls and another 9,000 market produce stalls.

To get a licence, food handlers have to attend and pass the basic food hygiene course and undergo the necessary medical screenings and inoculations.

Those above 35 years old also have to go through screening for tuberculosis.

But the agency noted an increasing number of hawkers have been issued tickets for food hygiene offences.

102 tickets were issued in 2006, 408 in 2007 and 730 last year.

Khoo Seow Poh, NEA’s director-general of public health, said: “For certain offences, currently we give a warning for a first offence. But if the situation of those kinds of offences becomes more rampant, then we may do away with the warning and straight away go for ticketing.”

Nineteen food stalls were suspended last year after they chalked up the maximum demerit points.

An average of four food poisoning incidents has been reported each year for the past three years. And at least three people were affected in each case.

Mr Khoo said: “As far as stallholders and stall assistants are concerned, it is their responsibility to make sure that the food that is served is safe, and on our part, following this incident, NEA will continue to work with stallholders and hawker associations to see how we can further improve and tighten hygiene regime.”

The NEA says the various hawker centre associations have devised a timetable for the spring cleaning procedures for the various food centres.

In fact spring cleaning is done at least two to three times a year.

Meanwhile NEA officers also check each individual stall at least once in six to eight weeks.

The Geylang Serai temporary market had its last round of spring cleaning last October.

But that did not get rid of the rats there.

Since last Friday, 41 rats have been killed by pest companies.

So is setting up a temporary market a good option?

Mr Khoo said: “It depends on the needs of the stallholders. If the upgrading period is long, some stallholders may need to make a livelihood to operate.

“Of course, NEA does provide them with vacant stalls for them to operate but some of them prefer to stay put to operate in the same area, because they want their regular customers to come back to them. We have to work with them to fulfil that.”

The new Geylang Serai market is expected to be ready by the end of this year.

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Below you will find a story where a native Singapori woman died after eating Rojak salad at a renound Indian food stall. The lady in question and many others like her made a point of stopping for their favorite treat whilst doing their shopping.

After eating at this stall many times previusly the lady had no idea that this would be her final visit. This is a story with a tragic end. What could have caused this catastrophie to occur? Could it be that the stall owner unwittingly bought contaminated produce. Could it be that he bought cheap supplies knowing that it was not up to standard? Could it be that that there was some type of cross contamination in the market place? Possibly, but I doubt this because so many people were taken ill.

In my opinion this salad may well have been contaminated with a Yerisinia or staphilococcus aureus toxin. I come to this conclusion due to the speed at which the bacteria acted within the body of the victim. The article is quite shocking and put accross the importance of knowing the source of what you eat.

SINGAPORE The Geylang food poisoning outbreak claimed its first victim on Monday. 57 year old canteen assistant Aminah Samijo died at 6.50am.

A statement from the Changi General Hospital (CGH) said Mdm Aminah suffered from acute renal failure as the infection had affected her kidneys.

She was hospitalised on Friday at 11.45pm after she became unconscious after eating Indian rojak salad at a Geylang Serai market stall.

CGH said she was unresponsive and had breathing difficulties. She had a fever and was diagnosed with severe gastroenteritis.

CGH said Mdm Aminah was treated with antibiotics and put on a ventilator support. She was also given medications for low blood pressure and diarrhoea. Mdm Aminah passed away without regaining consciousnesses.

CGH said it is unable to comment on the cause of her death as it is now under a coroner’s inquiry.

As of Monday, the hospital has treated 77 patients who came down with food poisoning. 16 of them are currently hospitalised at CGH and are in a stable condition. They were admitted for diarrhoea and dehydration and were treated with antibiotics and intravenous infusion.

Meanwhile, a 38 year old woman miscarried after contracting food poisoning from eating rojak from the same stall. Rosiah Samat lost her two month old foetus over the weekend.

Her husband had bought the rojak for her on Friday. While eating, the housewife noticed that the gravy tasted slightly off. She fell ill hours later and was sent to KK Hospital that evening.

Madam Rosiah has two other daughters. One is twelve years old, whilst the other is eight.

Another pregnant woman, Madam Sarina, is now recuperating at KKH after eating the same rojak. Her sister in law, a Madam Sharifah, said she is now four months pregnant.

Madam Sharifah said: “My sister in law was admitted to KKH with stomach cramps and she had diarrhoea and she was vomitting. From what I understand, the gynaecologist had to do a thorough medical checkup and he checked whether the baby was ok. The heartbeat is alright. So the baby is pretty safe at this point in time.

“But they are keeping a very close watch on her. She is still totally bed ridden. In her ward, there are other women who are also down with the same (condition) — diarrhoea, due to the same stall. She is still very weak.

More than 100 people fell sick after eating from Stall number 302, Rojak Geylang Serai.

The National Environment Agency said investigations are ongoing.

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In my last article on “scores on doors” about the initial results posted for the experimental scoring system of restaurants which is currently being tried in a nominal portion of urban and regional boroughs throughout the UK, it is quite clearly seen that certain restaurants run by specific ethnic groups are receiving far lower ratings than institutional and franchise type establishments.

The danger with results such as these is that it can very quickly be interpreted by certain people as an effort by local and national authorities to target restaurants and other food retail businesses owned by ethnic groups, primarily Asian.

It is my opinion that the authorties responsible for carrying out these environmental and food hygiene tests could well be hard pushed to prove their objectivity if ethnic groups were to register counter charges based upon claims of racial discrimination and targeting. Much thought and legal preparation would be wise in anticipation for such eventualities.

However, there are several issues that need to be put on the table before such claims are made. The first of these concerns staff. Are all staff working within ethnic restaurants asked to provide evidence that they are in good health and fit to work in a food preparation establishment? Secondly, have all staff received adequate training about food hygiene? Thirdly, is the restaurant adequately staffed to cover all the tasks that need to be done, especially cleaning tasks. Fourth, are the staff provided with suitable cleaning equipment and detergeants to do the job of cleaning? Fith, Can receipts be provided that all food stock was bought from a safe and legal source? Sixth, has the premises been checked by a public health official and been approved as suitable for running a food business? Seventh, are hygiene standards maintained? Is food stored in suitable and clean conditions? Eigth, the working day planned and executed in a way which all but eliminates the risk of cross contamination? Ninth, is food kept hot and served fully cooked at the appropriate temperatures?

If all of these conditions are maintained, no restaurant should have any trouble being scored highly on any food hygiene check. Race and ethnicity do not come into the equasion at all. All of these affore mentioned points are completely objective. A bacterial swab and culture doesn’t lie. As modern cultures we have an interest in diversity and choice. All we ask is that whilst sampling and enjoying the tastes and culinary traditions of other cultures, our health be safeguarded.

So what is the main difference between institutional kitchens, franchise businesses and ethnic restaurants? Why are the first group faring so much better than the ethnic groups? The obvious and initial answer wouls have to be good intent. Large corporations are consistantly concerned about the possibilities of law suits. Integrity then becomes an issue which translates directly into safeguarding reputation and profit margins. The second most pressing problem area is infrastructure. In order to prevent contamination of food certain logistical conditions must be in place such as, stainless steel work surfaces, well painted walls free of mildew, steam extractors, separated cleaning areas, safe waste disposal facilities, and professional food grade equipment for starters.

A large part of maintaining hygiene standards has to do with cleaning materials. Commercial degreasers such as caustic soda, chlorosept, phosphoric acid and bleach products destroy bacteria such as salmonella and E. Coli by effectively eating away at their lipopolysaccharide envelopes. Regular monitoring and treatment against insects and other pests further reduce desease risks.

In addition, in fast food restaurants there is very little handling of raw materials such as unpeeled vegetables. Therefore, the risk of cross contamination is greatly reduced.

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You have all heard of the Salmonella food outbreaks and scares that pop up all around this country and in many other places around the world, but how many of you know that “Salmonella” is not a disease as such?  That would be called Salmonellosis.

 

Salmonella is a genus of Gram-negative, non-spore forming, and motile enterobacteria with flagella which protrude in all directions (peritrihous).  Salmonella gets it’s energy from oxidation and reduction reactions using organic sources.  Most species of Salmonella are facultative anaerobics and are found around the world in  many different locations both  in warm blooded and coldblooded animals alike, and, believe it or not, human beings.  Some of the diseases attributed to Salmonella include typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, and food borne Salmonellosis.

Samonella infections are all zoonotic.  They can be transmitted from humans to animals and from animals to humans.  Common strains are Salmonella Enterica Subsp., Enterica Serovar Typhi, or Salmonella Typhi.  Enteritis Salmonella can cause diarrhea, and infants, small children, the elderly, and people suffering from suppressed immune systems can become very seriously ill will need antibiotic treatment to rectify the problem.

There are an estimated forty thousand cases of Salmonella infections reported annually within the USA.  Salmonella can survive for weeks outside of a living organism.  Sunlight accelerates their death rate, as does being heated to a temperature of fifty five degrees for a period of one hour, or to sixty degrees for a period of not less than half an hour.  To guard against Salmonella food must be heated to at least seventy five degrees for a minimum of ten minutes.  Freezing does not kill salmonella .

Sources of Salmonella infections can be caused by injestion of unclean foodstuffs especially in institutional kitchens and restaurants, polluted surface water or stagnant water, improperly thawed poultry, or uncooked eggs from Salmonella infested birds.  Suspected foods contaminated by Salmonella outbreaks are taken off shop selves and returned to the manufacturer and should not be ingested.

The Salmonella in peanut butter found inside the products of the Peanut Corporation of America, has become one of the worst food borne Salmonella outbreaks in US food history and has been put down to criminal negligence.
Salmonellosis usually develops within twelve to seventy two hours after the person becomes infected with salmonella and Salmonella infections normally resolve in about seven days with oral liquid treatments.  Antibiotics such as ampricillin, ciproflaxacin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazale are the best treatments for Salmonella infections which spreads to the intestines.  Some Salmonella patients have developed Reiter’s Syndrome which can lead to chronic arthritis and antibiotic treatments tend to have little effect on whether or not the patient develops arthritis from the Salmonella infection.

Beef, pork, milk, poultry, and eggs are the main host carriers of Salmonella, but any  type of food can become contaminated by this bacteria.  Eating raw or undercooked eggs, poultry, or meat can be a good method of contracting a Salmonella infection, as can cross-contamination of foods.  Symptoms of Salmonella infections may include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramping.  Laboratory tests are required to determine the presence of Salmonella and its specific strain.

Milk pasteurization, farm animal hygiene, cleaner slaughterhouse regimes, cleaner vegetable and fruit harvesting and packing operations, and better educational training standards of food industry workers in basic food handling and restaurant safety inspection procedures, may all help prevent Salmonella outbreaks from happening.
US Government Departments, such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, monitor the frequency of Salmonella infections in the Country, and help local and State Health Departments investigate outbreaks and devise controls and measures to lessen cases from happening.

 

The Food and Drug Administration inspects imported foods, milk pasteurization plants, promotes better food preparation techniques in restaurants and processing plants, as well as regulates the wrongful use of certain types of antibiotics as food animal growth inducers.  The United States Department of Agriculture monitors the health of food animals, inspects egg manufacturing plants, and the quality of slaughtered and processed meats.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency regulates and monitors drinking water supplies for safety.

The following steps can be taken to help prevent outbreaks of Salmonellosis:  cook poultry, ground beef, and eggs thoroughly at hot temperatures, avoid cooking oversized batches, do not eat or drink raw eggs or unpasteurized milk, wash hands after handling raw meat or poultry, and if foods in restaurants are served undercooked such as meat, eggs, and poultry send them back and have them cooked some more.
Salmonellosis is preventable by adopting correct food hygiene measures.

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In a previous article named “sores on doors” I outlined a new scheme aimed at providing a score system for restaurants and other eating houses which is being implimented on a trial basis throughout the UK . Certain regional and municipal councils are participating in the scheme, the aim of which is to provide an indication to the public of where to eat and where it is not reccomended  to eat.

The scheme is being run by public service departments such as the environmental health authority, the department of public health and other departments within the public sector. The scheme aims at providing equivalents to GMP and HACCP certifications in as much as businesses working in the restaurant and take away trade will now have to be aware that the grade they receive may well determine the volume of the trade they do.

The level of hygiene a business  maintains will now be integrally related to whether a food business will ultimately survive or not. Calderdale regional council posted it’s findings in a local paper for all the public to see. The gradeing is on a zero to five star system. A two star rating  indicates a level at which a business is complying with the minimum requirements of the law. The findings are interesting because they show that the vast majority of  food businesses in this northern region are in complience with the law.  The findings are listed below. It is interesting to note the range if businesses checked by the scheme and also to note the only type of business which received a “zero star” rating.  

Latest star ratings
Five stars:
Aramark, Commercial Street, Halifax
Burnley Road Junior and Infant School, Burnley Road, Mytholmroyd
Calder Cafe, Calder Workshops, Gibbet Street, Halifax
Calder Valley Club, Burnley Road, Mytholmroyd
Clover House Nursing Home, Clover House, Savile Road, Halifax
Domino’s Pizza, Commercial Street, Brighouse
Elland Junior and Infant School, Westgate, Elland
Farthing Wood Private Day Nursery, New Lane, Skircoat Green, Halifax
Savile House Residential Home, Savile Road, Halifax

Four stars:
Angaldale Guest House, Hangingroyd Lane, Hebden Bridge
Beckly House, Cooper Lane, Shelf
Dan Benn, Borough Market, Market Street, Halifax
Gibraltar Fisheries, Hopwood Lane, Halifax
Hairy Lemon, Lord Street, Halifax
James Street Fisheries, James Street, Holywell Green
Luigi’s, Rochdale Road, Greetland
Masons Arms, Navigation Place, Todmorden
Peaches, Market Street, Hebden Bridge
Pellon Baptist Church, Spring Hall Lane, Halifax
Plummet Line Hotel, Bull Close Lane, Halifax
Rastrick Hall and Grange, Close Lea Avenue, Brighouse
R G and J M Kemp, Gibbet Street, Halifax
S and J Dorsey, Borough Market, Market Street, Halifax
Sandwich Post, Bolton Brow, Sowerby Bridge
Seventy Two, Burnley Road, Todmorden
Siddalls Butchers, Borough Market, Market Street, Halifax
Stone Chair Inn, Moor End Road, Mount Tabor, Halifax
Thornhill Briggs Working Men’s Club, Old Lane, Brighouse
Todmorden Children’s Centre, Burnley Road, Todmorden

Three stars:
Albert Hotel, Albert Street, Hebden Bridge
Anchor Trust, Trinity Fold, Blackwall, Halifax
Bank Edge Fisheries, Bank Edge Road, Halifax
Bridges Bar, Station Road, Sowerby Bridge
Cafe Macchiato, Huddersfield Road, Elland
Copley Cricket and Athletic Club, Copley
First Class Child Care at Lorraines, Blackwall, Halifax
Ghanis Takeaway, King Cross Road, Halifax
Ginger Vegetarian Cafe, Northgate, Halifax
Hartleys Confectioners, Briggate, Brighouse
Hillcroft Kindergarten, Hillcroft, Kirk Lane, Hipperholme
Hungary Monkeys, Carr House Road, Shelf
Hungry Hippo, Denholme Gate Road, Hipperholme
Laurel Bank Nursing Home, Holdsworth Road, Holmfield, Halifax
Millers Quality Sandwiches, Huddersfield Road, Elland
Old Ship Inn, Bethel Street, Brighouse
Ovenden ARLFC, Cousin Lane, Ovenden, Halifax
P and W Stansfield, Todmorden Market Hall, Burnley Road, Todmorden
P Wilkinson Bakers Ltd, Borough Market, Market Street, Halifax
Rawson Primary School, Rawson Street North, Boothtown, Halifax
Robinson’s Farm Shop, Wall Close Farm, Score Hill, Northowram
Sagra Restaurant, Carlton Place, Halifax
Salvation Army Halifax Citadel, St James Road, Halifax
Sandwich Hut, Clifton Common, Clifton
Shears Inn, Boys Lane, Halifax
Sportsman Inn and Leisure, Bradford Old Road, Claremount, Halifax
Stephen Maskill Butchers Ltd, Well Head Farm, Well Head Lane, Sowerby
The Bear Cafe, Rochdale Road, Todmorden
The White Lion, Burnley Road, Mytholmroyd
Toppers Deli and Sandwich Bar, Commercial Street, Halifax
The Mushroom Sandwich Shop, The Kiosk, Gooder Street, Brighouse

Two stars:
Franco’s Pizzeria, Lineholme Mill, Burnley Road, Todmorden
Green Door Catering Company, Halifax Road, Ripponden
Grosvenors, Borough Market, Market Street, Halifax
Gusto, Water Street, Todmorden
Hebden Royd Primary School, Church Lane, Hebden Bridge
King Balti and Big Pizzeria, Bath Place, Halifax
Pockets Leisure Centre, Hollins Mill, Rochdale Road, Todmorden
Royal Oak Inn, Lower Edge Road, Rastrick
T Richardson and Son, Borough Market, Market Street, Halifax
Top Wok, Queen’s Road, King Cross
Towngate Groceries, Towngate, Sowerby
Travellers Rest, Stainland Road, West Vale

One star:
Ali Halal Meat, Hanson Lane, Halifax
Broadwood, Duke Street, Elland
Costermonger, Burnley Road, Todmorden
Crown Tandoori, Crown Street, Halifax
Dodgeholme Fisheries, Dodge Holme Drive, Mixenden, Halifax
Fortune Cookie Takeaway, Ovenden Road, Halifax
Marybeth Cafe, Burnley Road, Todmorden
Ovenden Kitchen, Ovenden Road, Halifax
Rastrick Spice Takeaway, New Hey Road, Rastrick
Saffron Restaurant and Takeaway, Oldham Road, Sowerby Bridge
Saghirs, Barum Top, Halifax
Zaika, Burnley Road, Todmorden
Zizzis, Waterhouse Street, Halifax

Zero stars:
Ronaldo/Khyber Kebab Centre, Wharf Street, Sowerby Bridge
Sultan Mahal, Westgate, Halifax

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They say, never judge a book by it’s cover. The same can be said about wine. I have one criteria that I use to judge a good wine and that is how good is it to drink?  Beverage quality and safety is not a science known only to the big wine producers.

I have bought so many expensive wines only to be completely and utterly disappointed that now I have absolutely no inhibitions about buying wine for one tenth of the price. Some small and quite obscure winerys are making very superior wines for a fraction of the price that you would pay for a Chateau Rothschild, for instance. To  find good cheaper wines I make a habit of going to my favorite wine merchants on days when he is having a wine tasting open day and make a point of tasting a good few of the cheaper wines as well as the more expensice ones. A good merchant, if he knows that you have an open mind, will give you tips about “little gems”  he has found. To be honest, usually it is enough to see the wine against the light to know it’s quality 

Generally speaking, about one third of the wines are not worth a second thought. One third are about the standard that you might expect from a three star restaurant and one third are really worth drinking. On deciding which wines I really like, I buy about two or three crates of assorted wines ranging from cabernet sauvignon to beaujolais.  I try do this about every couple of months.

I never let my dinner guests know that they are drinking bargain basement choices because all wine at my table is decantered. All that they ever know is that they are drinking a wine that is well worth drinking. It also gives me a sense of pride to know that I am helping lesser vineyards to raise their heads and take their true place among the established vineyards as truly good wine making professionals. The condition for this is that they continue to produce wines of a superior standard at competitive prices.

Some say that there is a lot of snobbery around the subject of wine drinking. I tend to agree with that to a degree because people who pay great sums for their wine, often have little or no idea of the wine making process. I have, in the past, tasted really expensive wines to which hydrochloric acid has been added in an attempt to cover up faults in the fermentation process. To those who know about wine, that is one of the most grievous cardinal sins possible to commit. Hydrochloric acid, when diluted to a concentration of five percent is synthetic vinegar. I don’t know about you but I most certainly do not want vinegar in my wine.

Adding hydrochloric acid is a technique that is sometimes used by winemakers who have fouled up the natural acid balance within the wine. By adding hydrochloric acid they are able to cover their mistakes to some degree and hopefully, those who are not experts in wine tasting will never know the difference.

If vineyards are faced with the eventuality of selling the majority of their years production as red wine vinegar they are tempted to use such inferior tactics. So, beware. It’s well worth Joining a good wine tasting course so that you’ll know the difference between good and bad wine and indeed, learn how to enjoy your wine much more.

Part of making really great wine has to do with maintaining correct hygiene conditions. We should always remember that the wine making process uses the yeast which is a naturally occuring micro-organism which grows on the skin of the grape. During the fermentation process the grape juice can pick up many forms of cross contamination in the form of various types of bacteria or undesirable forms of fungus which, if not prevent from entering the grape juice, will spoil or reduce the quality of the final wine. Cross contamination may well be the main cause of wine spoilage. All wineries are susceptible to  contamination precicely for the reason that they are processing a product which comes straight out of a fiels where it has been exposes to the surrounding environment for many months.

So, the message is that there is no absolute connection between the drinkability of wine and price. You will find many, many excellent wines from non label wine makers. Take a little time to discover those you like, enjoy the thrill of discovering priceless gems in the most unexpected places and save yourself a whole lot of money at the same time.

© 2019 Food Hygiene Essentials