When working with food, safe handling practices should be followed to avoid contaminating food with "germs" or to avoid picking up any "germs" (bacteria or viruses) from handling the food itself. Many foods may be contaminated with bacteria and should always be treated carefully – foods like chicken could have Salmonella and hamburger meat could have E.coli. Important steps to take when working with food include:
Cleaning tools and cloths are frequently a source of germs since they are not washed and disinfected frequently enough. Vegetables and fruit must be washed prior to use – they may have been contaminated with germs while in the field, during shipment or in the store.
An important tip is to ensure that utensils, work surfaces, cutting boards or cloths which come into contact with suspect foods (eggs, chicken, meat, etc.) do not come into contact with other foods (such as desserts, fruit, vegetables). This cross-contamination is a major source of spreading foodborne disease.
Foods should be covered in storage to ensure that liquids from thawed meats don't drip onto them.
If proper precautions are not taken during food preparation, storage, handling and serving, foodborne diseases can be spread.
A list of some of these include:
- Hepatitis A
- Salmonella typhi
- Norwalk virus
- Staphylococcus aureus
Most of these infections result in typical "stomach flu" symptoms though some have more serious and life-threatening complications.