Contamination of food is a major hazard that entails the occurrence of any objectionable matter in or on the food. Lamb legs may be contaminated with faecalatter; high-risk food (food high in protein content) may be contaminated with spoilage or food poisoning bacteria; and flour may be contaminated with rodent hair and excreta, weevils, etc.©
There are types of contamination, namely:
- Physical contamination
- Chemical contamination
- Microbiological contamination
Foreign bodies found in food(other than what is supposed to be consumed) is termed as physical contamination. The list of foreign bodies is endless-stalks, stones, pebbles, insects bodies, metal particles, nuts and bolts, glass, rodent droppings, metal screws, cigarette ends, plastic pieces, plastic packaging material, stapler pins, pieces of corrugated box materials, sawdust, wood chips, human hair, pins, clips etc. This types of contamination an easilybebrought under control if the establishment has sound systems and procedures in place, and a dedicated team of people who ensure that nothing unwanted comes into the kitchen area.
This takes place when unwanted chemicals enter the foodstuff during.
- Growth, for example, veterinary drugs, excessively used fertilizers, pesticides, and environmental contaminants such as lead or dioxins.
- Food preparation, for example, oil, cleaning chemicals(residues found in pots and pans that have not been cleaned thoroughly), or insecticides;
- Processing for example, excessive addition of preservatives in foods such as sausages, salami, etc.
Chemical food poisoning can cause long term illness such as cancer, and many such cases of food poisoning have come to light.
It is surprising to know that when one talks about contamination, most of the time one refers to physical contamination or chemical contamination. However, the type that can cause real havoc in food business is seldom spoken about – Microbiological contamination. This is by far the most significant type as it result in large amounts of spoilt food and unacceptable instances of food poisoning cases.©
Microbiological contamination takes place due to the presence and multiplication of food poisoning bacteria. Bacteria are single-celled organisms found everywhere on raw food and people, in the soil, air and water. Bacteria are microscopic and vary in size from around. 001mm to. 003mm. While most of the bacteria found in nature are harmless to humans, a few are harmful and can cause damage to mankind. These bacteria are classified as ‘patthogens’.
Food poisoning bacteria may be brought into the food premises from source such as:
- Food handlers, people working in related departments such as kitchen stewarding, services personnel, and to a certain degree, guests;
- Raw food including, poultry, meat, eggs, milk, fish, shellfish, and water especially when polluted with sewage or animal faeces(vegetables or fruit may become contaminated by manure or polluted irrigation water)
- Insects, rodents, animals, and birds;
The environment, including soil and dust.©