Food poisoning acts quickly and is caused by eating poisonous food. Food, which includes drinks, could have been poisoned by us, other people or by environmental factors.
The major cause of food poisoning is by bacteria, which are microscopic organisms. They are living creatures which inhabit this planet in great abundance. The majority of bacteria are harmless. In fact, without bacteria, it is very doubtful that this planet’s inhabitants (animals and plants) would survive. It has been suggested that we all originated from LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor) several billion years ago. Luca evolved into different branches: Eukarya, Archaea and Bacteria. We humans come under the Eurkarya domain. It is because of this link that scientists think bacteria have very similar cellular components and functions to us.
At home, food poisoning can be controlled by good personal hygiene such as regular hand washing and showering/bathing. The wearing of protective clothing, such as an apron, whilst preparing food, can also aid in food poisoning prevention. Many people prepare and cook food at home but never consider taking an online food safety training qualification to learn about the dangers of food poisoning. Perhaps they think that the courses are only for people that work in the hospitality industry.
Keep pets out of the kitchen when preparing food as they are a major source of infection. This includes dogs, cats, domestic birds and other cute, cuddly, creatures; they all harbour pathogens.
Keep raw food away from ready to eat food. All raw meat, salad vegetables and soil-contaminated vegetables hold pathogens and these can easily be transferred to ready to eat food by cross contamination. This is especially important when using barbecues. If you handle raw foods, wash your hands. Do not use alcoholic gels or bactericides for health and safety and environmental reasons. Soap and water is totally adequate.
Internal and external bins must be kept clean, inside and out, or they attract pests. Pest such as birds, insects and rodents carry other diseases apart from pathogens. Ensure outside bins have tight fitting lids. Do not leave any bags outside the bin, as these attract pests.
Have a good cleaning regime in the kitchen. Clean as you go, is a process that is used quite extensively in the trade. It is a method of preventing cross contamination by cleaning up as soon as any soiling occurs.
There are a lot of things to consider when cooking at home in order to remain free from food poisoning; that is why it is ideal for home cooks to learn food hygiene. One method is by online food safety training.
In order to work in the catering industry in the UK, personnel have to pass a food safety qualification. The level of which is based upon the type of job that is undertaken.
There are four levels of qualification:
Level 2 is designed for anyone working in a catering, manufacturing or retail setting where food is prepared, cooked and handled.
Level 3 is for managers, supervisors and chefs in medium and large manufacturing or catering businesses.
Level 4 is for managers, supervisors, senior hygiene personnel, business owners and food hygiene trainers.
Staff working in the catering industry, such as food handlers, chefs, supervisors, managers, business owners and food hygiene trainers have usually had to attend a training course to obtain a recognised food safety qualification. This results in time off work, finding staff to cover absence and loss of quality output if key staff are on the course. Many companies offer food safety courses online, but not leading to an accredited qualification which is recognised by industry, environmental health departments and educational bodies.
For food safety qualification to be accredited in the UK they must be recognised by Ofqual, DCELLS, CCEA and SQA and part of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).
QCF is the framework for creating and accrediting qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It gives a wider range of learners the opportunity to get the qualifications they need, in a way that suits them. QCF qualifications are designed with the help of employers so learners can be assured that they’re gaining skills that employers are looking for.
• recognises smaller steps of learning and enables learners to build up qualifications bit by bit
• helps learners achieve skills and qualifications that meet industry needs
• enables work-based training to be nationally recognised.
Qualifications recognised under the QCF attract funding.
Qualifications within the QCF will be confirmed for funding for one or more of the Agency’s delivery programmes (Adult Learner Responsive provision, Offender Learning and Skills Service, Train to Gain, and Programmes for the Unemployed)
There is only one company in the UK that offers the three levels of food hygiene qualifications that are accredited by all the major educational bodies.
The benefits of online food safety training are:
· Lower costs of qualification compared to training room courses
· Avoiding adverse weather conditions travelling to training courses
· No sitting in a training room for endless hours
· Choosing when to study
· No travelling to course or examination
· Flexibility on completion of course
· Choosing when to sit the examination
· No need to take time off from work to study
· Full access to tutor before, during and after course
So there are several ways that food poisoning can be avoided at home using a common sense approach to preparing food. Regular handwasing, wearing protective clothing, good cleaning regimes, pet and pest control, waste control and enrolling on an online food safety training course can all help.
It’s time to reduce the cases of food poisoning, both at home and in the catering industry.