Food Production Lines

Choking on food is a problem that people encounter from time to time. For some, the anticipation of choking on food causes severe phobia and it is for this reason that they will choose not to eat many food types or textures. For most people the fear of choking concentrates mainly on choking on chicken or fish bones and, in the case of children, peanuts.

However, choking is a threat. Usually, and fortunately, small pieces of food enter the trachea. Such small pieces of food do not close off the ability to breathe altogether and, although great discomfort is experienced, the piece of food will be ejected with coughing.

Due to the fact that mankind evolved as a browser, meaning eating while on the move, it is likely that only smallish pieces of food were put into the mouth at any one time. Individuals would have been immersed in picking their food and concentrating on locating the best samples. Therefore, feeding would have been relatively personal and quiet.

Nowadays, many of us eat together. Meal times have gained many diversions such as watching the TV, singing, laughing and talking loudly. All of these diversions serve to divert us from eating our food attentively.

One of the main causes of ingesting food into the trachea is due to breathing through the mouth while eating. A lot of people take advantage of the opportunity of having an open mouth to fulfill two functions, namely that of taking a breath so as not to be short of breath while chewing and that of inserting food into the mouth.

The proper way to put food into the mouth, from a safety aspect would be to take a breath through the nose, then to open the mouth and to insert the food without taking a breath. One would then close the mouth to chew ones food, continuing to breath through the nose. Breathing through the mouth when eating is a bad habit with it’s risks attached.

Much can be do to lessen the risk of serious, life threatening choking in the way we cut our food. Food should bot be served in the form of balls or ovals. Everything should be at least cut in half. Food should not be cut into rings or disks. Strips are much safer for all age groups. Food should not be served in large pieces either because many people fail to chew their food and tend to swallow their food after only a few chews. Large pieces of food can stick in the throat and the muscular pressure that is created by the discomfort can push the epiglottis upwards leaving the trachea open for food to enter.

Powders are another cause of choking and discomfort, especially icing sugar. Again, if air is inhaled while placing the food item in the mouth, icing sugar will be taken into the trachea and cause a reaction that can lead to severe coughing and a choking sensation. There is not much to do about this other than to let the body deal with the problem, of, in serious cases to call for an ambulance.

While drinking we do not usually breathe through the mouth, however, accidental entry of liquids can enter the lung during coughing bouts. hiccups and loss of concentration such as when we burst into laughter. Usually these amounts are small and do not cause more than severe discomfort due to coughing, however, there have been cases where I have had to call an ambulance due to tracheal constriction which can happen, especially if the individual is asthmatic.The Heimlich ManeuverGraphic courtesy of alexdanenberger.com

People preparing food for others should be particularly attentive to how the food is cut. Don’t cut corners and hope for the best. Always be two steps ahead of your diners with respect to their safety at the dining table. You are taking care of them so rely on Murphy’s law of the kitchen. “anything that can happen will happen, if left to chance.”

In the visual aid you will see how to perform the Heimlich maneuver. This maneuver is a technique used to force food blocking the trachea back through the mouth. When done on small children this maneuver should be done using the fingertips only.

 

 

 

Mbeef-1239184_1920ad cow disease is a classic example of how failure to adhere to the first of the eight principles of food hygiene can cause both dire risk to those who come into contact with meat infected with mad cow disease and cause terrible suffering for cattle. The need to make sure that animals are reared properly includes how and with what they are fed. The exact meaning of this statement will become clear as you read this article. The diligence needed at each and every stage of food production and food preparation is absolutely vital in order to maintain the full integrity of food safety. Below you will find an explanation of mad cow disease that will give you insight and understanding of this terrible disease.

Mad cow disease or Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE for short) is a neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system of cattle of all breeds. It is believed (although not 100% proven) that this disease is caused due to the feeding of animal tissue (usually from cattle by also from sheep or pigs) to cattle.

It is common practice nowadays to feed cattle proteins from animal sources. This may be bone meal, blood meal, brain tissue meal or even feather meal. The reason why cattle are fed animal protein is because the protein levels that are present in most plants are relatively low and some strains of bacteria in the cows rumen break them down into undesirable fatty acids such as butyric acid which are less than ideal for the production of milk and flesh mass on beef cattle. (Acetic acid is best for milk production and propionic acid produces the best muscle mass).

The thing that farmers and industrialists alike are constantly looking for is protein types that the bacteria resident with the rumen will not recognise and therefore will pass through the rumen unaffected by the bacteria and pass into the true stomach where they will passed into the bloodstream through the cows intestine. For this technique to be successful, the farmer must alternate the type of protein given to the cow in its feed so that the bacteria of the rumen will not grow to recognize it and hence metabolise it.

Animal proteins contain prions which are proteins that can change the structure of other proteins that they come into contact with. Factories that make animal protein feed (Often in the far east) are renowned for not adhering to procedure and this can cause fluctuations to happen both in the processing time and temperature levels. You see, if the proteins are properly cooked, they will not cause any damage because when cooked, proteins change their structure.

The effect of eating improperly processed protein feed can cause the prions within the protein of the feed to change the structure of the proteins of the cattles brain and spinal cord. This causes the tissue to become spongy meaning thet there are empty spaces within the tissue where there should have been nervous tissue. This wasting and structural change of the cows brain tissue cause the signals that come from the brain to malfunction causing the cow to appear to have fits and seizures. This condition can take up to five years to develop in the cow.

Although few cases were reported above the norm, in technical terms, this condition can be passed on to humans especially where meat is only lightly cooked (or red in the middle). This disease cost farmers billions of dollars worth of damage , especially in the UK where some six million cattle either died because of the disease or were slaughtered in an attempt to eradicate it.

It is believed that some bad feed is still being exported from the far east, (especially from India).

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All food preparation, be it in a factory, restaurant of home kitchen is prepared in stages. Raw material comes in at one end and a finished product comes out of the other end. As far as I am concerned, this makes the preparation of food a production line.

I have worked in the food industry for quite some time and I know how to apply the production line principle to any situation. It is this principle which I would like to write about today.

Every production line begins with choosing the raw materials you are going to work with. You need to identify who your suppliers will be and be very clear on why you want to work with them. Firstly, you should get to know their reputation for reliability. If you have a business to run you do not want to be left without supplies. Several questions need to be asked. Is the produce fresh? Is the quality good? Is it consistently good? Is the price fair? Is it delivered in the appropriate conditions as defined by law?

Once you have chosen your suppliers your next task is to ensure that products delivered are stored in a correct manner. Frozen produce goes straight to the freezers, keeping meat and fish separate from frozen vegetables and dough products. Fresh vegetables should be stored by themselves as should meat, fish and eggs. Dry foods such as pasta, spices, canned food, flour, salt, sugar, legumes, should all be stored in a dry pantry.

In all kitchens the morning should start with the cleaning of vegetables. Some kitchens may have machines to assist workers perform these tasks, other mostly smaller kitchens will do all this by hand. In the kitchens I worked in, we had a separate enclosed department to each function so we could continue to work on all stages of food preparation all day. Smaller kitchens are not lucky enough to have this luxury so food must be prepared in stages. I strongly advise that all staff wear disposable aprons while they are cleaning vegetables fish or poultry.

After the vegetables have been cleaned and stored away the kitchen should be thoroughly cleaned and prepared for the next stage. The next logical stage would be to prepare fish and any other type of meat or poultry that needs cleaning, cutting, deboning, mincing or any other form of initial preparation. Again, the kitchen should be thoroughly cleaned before moving onto the next stage.

Once all the initial preparation and cleaning has been finished we can now concentrate on the preparation of the food dishes themselves. Remember, when preparing your menu you will still be bringing potential elements of cross contamination into the kitchen. The most dangerous of these will include eggs, milk products, tin cans, bottles and spices. You must never put any of the items that you bring into the kitchen at this stage onto the work surfaces on which you are preparing food. Always keep them on a service trolley.  Remember to always wash your hands after you have touched any item which has not been cleaned during the initial preparation stages. Do not put anything like eggs directly into your food dish. Always open them into a small bowl to inspect them first taking out any egg shell that may have fallen into the egg..

Remember to implement food hygiene principles at all times. Keep meats away from salads. Do not prepare meat or fish together with vegetables that are to be served separately. Wash your hands and tools when moving from task to task.

Most of all clean your work area completely when you are plating your food. Make sure that plates are hot. Make sure that they have not come into contact with any stage of food preparation and most of all make sure that the person serving the food is both immaculately clean and in good health.

So in conclusion, the preparation of food should be undertaken in stages. Each stage should be completed and the work area cleaned before moving onto the next task. By doing this you are ensuring correct food hygiene procedure by avoiding cross contamination and by doing so bringing the risk of food poisoning down as far as is humanly possible. Knowledge, preparation, organization and attention to detail are the key to good food hygiene and quality food production. This is the job of the chef. A chef never compromises on correct food preparation procedure.

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