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Food Safety Tips Brought To You by Bonji

Bonji Foods Aficionado Smart Brief: Volume 90


What’s up Bonji Buddies! We at Bonji Foods hope you are thriving at whatever venture you’ve set out on. It’s time for another edition of the Bonji Foods Aficionado Smart Brief! Buckle up, because this week we are going to talk about food safety.


HACCP Certified Bonji Foods

Why Food Safety CANNOT Be Overlooked


Food safety is the single most important aspect of food production, processing, manufacturing, distribution, and service/retail.  Sure, we all love a tasty bowl of acai sorbet, but would you eat it if you knew it would make you sick? Absolutely not!  That is why we take food safety extremely seriously at Bonji.  Our goal is to make our customers happy, and it’s scientifically impossible to be happy and have a belly ache or something more serious (…we checked).  So, let’s dive into some safety tips to avoid contamination.

 

Physical objects would be things like pieces of plastic, metal, or hair. These are the ones that are usually easier to spot in food, signaling to the consumer that the food is unsafe, but they are not always visible and can be bad news if they are ingested.  When preparing food here are some things to keep in mind to avoid physical contamination:

  • Hairnets - Wearing a hairnet or hat will keep hair out of the food.  The average human sheds 50-100 hairs per day!  Let’s make sure none of them land in anybody’s meal.

  • Jewelry - Rings, necklaces, earrings, etc., can fall off or fall apart without the wearer’s knowledge.  It’s important to remove all jewelry throughout the various stages of food service. Plus, you wouldn’t want to lose Grandma’s heirlooms to somebody’s intestines.

  • Plastic/metal - This is another important physical contaminant to look out for. Make sure all machinery and utensils are kept in good working order, check to make sure screws are snug and there are no chips in any equipment being used in your facility.  These are harder to look out for in large-scale operations, but all equipment should be checked at least once per day to ensure it is maintained properly. If you use blenders, make sure the lid is secure and that nothing can fall into the blender.

Biological contaminants would be bacteria, viruses, or fungi. These are nearly impossible to see, except for things like mold, and can cause a foodborne illness if ingested. How can you avoid the countless pathogens that live to attack your food? Well, nothing is 100% perfect (think hand sanitizers that claim to kill 99.9% of germs), but there are many steps or "hurdles" you can implement to prevent contamination: Hygiene - WASH YOUR HANDS!! We can’t stress this enough. Washing your hands after using the restroom, taking out the trash, opening doors, and even rubbing your eyes will do wonders to prevent contamination. Plus, it’s nasty if you don’t wash your hands. Don’t be nasty.

  • Clean clothes - Wearing clean clothes will reduce the number of biological contaminants that enter food processing rooms.  Food production and food service workers should also wear booties over their shoes, or have specific shoes that are only worn inside the facility to avoid bringing outside germs in.  

  • Clean facility- Proper sanitation of all equipment, surfaces, and utensils. This is a 5-step process. 

  • Scrape or remove visible residue from the item/surface being cleaned.

  • Wash the item/surface with soap and water- this will remove the remaining of the visible residue

  • Rinse the item/surface with water

  • Sanitize the item/surface with a proper sanitizing solution

  • Allow the item/surface to air-dry

  • Illness - If you’re sick, tell your boss and follow procedures to avoid contaminating food. This may mean you have to stay home, or it may just mean you need to do a different task until you are well.

  • Time/Temperature control - The danger zone is the temperature range of 40–140°F (4–60°C), in which bacteria grow and thrive. Keeping perishable foods out of the danger zone is critical to keeping your food safe. Usually that means keeping it in the fridge or freezer.  If food is within the danger zone for 4 hours, it MUST be discarded.  Raw fruits and vegetables do not need to be held outside of this range, but once they are cooked or cut, they should be stored in the fridge or freezer.

  • Expiration dates - If food is expired (visibly something wrong or an actual use by date), throw it out.


Chemical contamination occurs when chemicals get into food. This is usually a result of improper storage or cleaning practices.

  • Storage - Keep cleaning supplies and other chemicals as far away from food and food contact surfaces as possible. Try to keep them in a closet or separate room if possible.  If not possible, keep them as far away from food as possible, and store them on the bottom shelf so if they spill, they fall on the floor and not on any food, surface, or person.

  • Cleaning practices - Make sure your cleaners and sanitizers are the proper concentration. If they are too strong, there may be chemical residue on the item/surface after it is cleaned.  Additionally, ensure you thoroughly rinse off cleaners, and allow sanitizers to air dry fully before using the item/surface in food preparation.


Allergens. When you have a food allergy, your immune system mistakenly identifies a specific food or a substance in food as something harmful.  There are 8 major food allergens:

  • Milk

  • Eggs

  • Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)

  • Crustacean Shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp)

  • Tree Nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)

  • Peanuts

  • Wheat

  • Soy


If you work with any of these products, it’s important to thoroughly sanitize (see 5-step process above) all equipment/surfaces that came into contact with those products, especially if a customer states they have an allergy in food service establishments. Employees should wash their hands and change their gloves.  These 8, and other allergens, can cause severe, life-threatening reactions, and must be taken seriously.

 

We know this Smart Brief topic is a little more serious than usual, but we just want everyone to have a safe and successful 2024.  We sincerely hope you enjoyed our little educational blog today, and that you can use this information to refresh yourself or your staff on proper food safety procedures. Until next time Bonji Buddies!

 

Best wishes,

Bonji Fam

 

P.S.- For more information, get ServSafe or HACCP (like us) Certified!

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