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Cross-contamination must be managed so that materials cannot contaminate others. Control systems should be in place and your staff made aware of their responsibility to prevent contamination. Your staff must also be aware of correct product handling and personal hygiene.

Cleaning and Disinfection

The equipment used for producing, processing, and storing products should be sanitized on a regular basis. It is good practice to have a cleaning schedule in place.

The packing, storage, and distribution must be controlled so that no biological hazard can contaminate or survive on food products. This process will entail suitable packaging for the product and temperature control in storage and distribution.

Conditions for Use

The directions you provide to the consumer are very important. Providing information on how to correctly store and cook the product can reduce the risks of biological hazards.

Chemical hazards

There are different types of chemical hazards associated with food:

  • naturally-occurring chemicals
  • intentionally-added chemicals
  • unintentional or incidental chemical additives.

Control points for chemical hazards must be identified during the process and storage of food products. Such can be done by using hazard analysis technique.

Naturally occurring chemical hazards

There is a perception that if something is naturally grown or raised it will not have any chemical hazards present. This belief is not true; naturally occurring chemical hazards are present in many foods. For example, there are toxins found in many varieties of mushrooms and some seafood.

In many countries there is legislation relating to the presence or level of toxins, so you should be aware If you are using foods which may contain these toxins. It would be good practice to refer to legislation and analysis samples of the product before use.

These chemical hazards are often classified as biological, but the important thing is that it be recognized as a hazard and controlled.

Examples of naturally occurring chemical hazards are

  • toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum , Staphylococcus aureus , Bacillus cereus
  • Scombrotoxin (histamine) – fish
  • Saxitoxin – paralytic shellfish toxin
  • Ciguatoxin – finfish
  • Mycotoxins – produced by moulds (fungi).

Intentionally added chemicals – food additives

There are two types of intentionally added chemicals, direct and indirect food additives.

Direct additives are compounds such as preservatives; these include nitrites, sodium benzoate, and sulfiting agents. You must be aware of the regulations relating to the use of these compounds since legislation does differ from country to country.

Additives such as colors and nutritional additives (such as vitamins) are also direct. All direct additives must be included on all labels. You can see from the table the risks of using direct food additives improperly.

Indirect food additives include

  • adhesives
  • paper and paperboard components
  • polymers
  • adjuvants, protection aids, and sanitizers.

In most cases these indirect food additives are undesirable and migrate into the food from inappropriate packaging.

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Source:  OpenStax, Food safety knowledge network basic level requirements. OpenStax CNX. Dec 30, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11142/1.4
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